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Ageing and the process of the body rebuilding after an illness are among the biological phenomena that baffle scientists and researchers. Scientists discovered the presence of embryonic stem cells while searching for answers to problems and issues regarding aging and regeneration. Even though this technology has not yet been widely used, it is still one of the most important findings of the twenty-first century. Additionally, the technology is successfully applied in various areas, including cosmetics, right now. Stem cell research offers opportunity for the discovery of numerous therapies but it is faced with a lot of controversies and requires intensive research before it is employed fully.
Stem cell research offers opportunity for the discovery of numerous therapies but it is faced with a lot of controversies and requires intensive research before it is employed fully.
Stem cell research is a concept that was commenced through the identification and isolation of the embryonic stem cells from mice. During this discovery, scientists realized that carcinoma cells known as teratocarcinomas were endowed with other cells which had multi-lineage possibility (Vats, Bielby, Trolley et al., 2005). This discovery opened doors for further research where they isolated and cultured embryonic stem cells from primates and then from human beings. With this, biologists were able to come up with an in-vitro model which is immensely helpful in differentiation procedures. The whole idea behind stem cell research is the creation of regenerative medicine.
One of the main aspects that led to the development of interest into stem cell research is the fact that other artificial ways of regenerating body organs proved faulty and problematic. A good example of this failure is the use of prosthetics and artificial body organs which appeared effective at first but ended up being problematic due to lack of biocompatibility (Vats et al., 2005). Apparently, synthetic implants including cardiovascular stents have a limited lifespan and so they only save the patient for a while. The problem is that such failures increase the costs of healthcare especially among the ageing population. This also implies that health care has not been able to achieve the objective of quality and affordable services. According to Vats et al., (2005) scientists are forced to find alternative ways of dealing with the situation because any engineering changes in synthetic body implants to improve biocompatibility will compromise their efficacy further. As a result, stem cell research seems to be an attractive and fruitful endeavor.
Another feature of stem cells that make them highly attractive is the fact that numerous tissues with rapid turnover have these organs and this assures medical practitioners of their effectiveness albeit without intensive research. According to Kotton (2012) and Murry and Keller (2008), stem cells are available in self-regenerating tissues such as blood, intestines and skin. Here, they proliferate at a very fast rate and grow rapidly into mature cells, a property that makes them highly attractive and applicable in a variety of situations. Most health practitioners would use this characteristic for purposes of clinical applications but Murry and Keller (2008) explain that it is impossible to produce similar cells artificially. However, considering the high ;likelihood of applicability makes these cells a potential one stop shop for the treatment of all kinds of body deteriorating diseases.
As researchers strive to find better methods of treatment, they tend to dwell on researching a method that is effective and has the propensity of being improved over time. One of the major advantages of stem cell research is that it offers unprecedented opportunities for the development of new form of treatment especially when it comes to diseases rendered untreatable (Murry & Keller, 2008). This method also employs and mimics real body cells which make it easy for researchers to prove beyond doubt that the technique is bound to work (Kotton, 2012). Most health practitioners would also want to employ this method in the treatment of most maladies considering that it can be manipulated to fit a variety of situations.
Even with its many attractive features, stem cell research is still being used minimally mainly because there are numerous unanswered questions surrounding this method of treatment. Stem cell treatment is clouded by a lot of unanswered questions and inconsistencies that are still yet to be confirmed or refuted. Murry and keller (2008) point out that health practitioners are incapable of pointing out the pros and cons of stem cell treatment to their patients with certainty. Consequently, it becomes problematic for patients to get convinced by doctors to use this form of treatment. Kotton (2012) explains that doctors are incapable of offering explanations because even research on the same is costly yet uncertain. Without subjects to try their medications on, it is utterly impossible for doctors and other health practitioners to give hope to their patients.
Stem cell research is one of the most lucrative and fruitful searches for treatment for all body organs that may be undergoing a degeneration. However, there are still a lot of unanswered questions on the same mainly because it is not easy to produce stem cells similar to those found in the skin and other organs that regenerate very fast. Consequently, doctors are currently not utilizing this method regardless of its high potential. Doctors are incapable of giving answers to patients regarding the pros and cons of this form of treatment.
Kotton, D. K. (2012). Next-Generation Regeneration: The Hope and Hype of Lung Stem Cell Research. American Journal of Respiratory and Critical Care Medicine, 185(12), 1255-1260.
Murry, C. E., & Keller, G. (2008). Differentiation of embryonic stem cells to clinically relevant populations: lessons from embryonic development. Cell 2008; 132, 661-680
Vats, A; Bielby, R C; Tolley, N S; Nerem, R; Polak, J M. (2005). Stem cells. The Lancet, 366(3485), 592-602.
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