Stem cells: What they are and what they do

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As the world advances in medical technology, there is developing research on the focus of Stem Cell therapy. Countries around are using government funds to boost their programs and be competitive in the global innovation race. However, the United States (U.S.) created laws that limits the governments’ funding towards Stem Cell research programs.

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These laws created by President George W. Bush have stopped the growth of U.S. Medical technology in comparison the world. According to Bush his main reasoning to restricting funds on research was because, At its core, this issue forces us to confront fundamental questions about the beginnings of life and the ends of science (qtd. in Park). Present day, due to the presence of unregulated clinics that are giving unregulated treatments, the FDA is now cracking down on research programs (Sifferlen). The governments’ focus has been towards Human Embryonic Stem Cells (HESC), which originate from the fetus (Lo, Parham). But as researchers have found, there are more to Stem Cells than just HESC, such as pluripotent stem cells (PSC), which are cells with a lot of potential and more than 200 different tissue cells (CIRM). Categories of PSC include; Adult Stem Cells (ASC), which originate from bone marrow and fats within the body that can replenish damaged/ dead tissue (UNMC). Cord Blood Stem Cells (CBSC) which come from the umbilical cord after birth, averaging over 500 million cells (Nature Biotechnology). PCS stay away from the least amount of ethical conflict in comparison to HESC. Even though there are other routes such as PSC that do not have as much controversy, the main conflict over Stem Cells solely focuses on HESC. Advocates push more for stem cells because they believe there are many benefits that will help the general population. However, critics disagree with this advancement because of economic matters. Stem cell therapy should be used more generally in the medical field because there are a lot of benefits that come from it.

Stem cell therapy introduces new methods of medicine for major diseases. The therapy can replace old methods and be better. Especially those that are ineffective and hindering. Take for instance a cancer patient who undergoes chemotherapy. The treatment kills the cancer cells, but in the same fact it also kills regular cells. This leads to weakening the immune system and potential of new diseases being introduced. If scientists can find a way to create cells based off of attacking the cancer cells instead of regular autoimmune cells, then the probability of patients dying will be reduced. There has been a study done already at the University of Minnesota where researchers conducted a bone marrow transplant on a patient with HIV. The results. The patient was ostensibly cured (Nature of Biotechnology). The possibilities on stem cells are endless and as the California Stem Cell Agency (CIRM) believes,

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