Talk:Stem cell research
Please provide input. If anyone has more up to date information that I am missing, I welcome it.--Ideastoday 15:08, 4 November 2006 (MST)
Adult versus embryonic stem cells
Stem cells can be used two ways. The first is to manufacture pharmaceutical components (proteins, peptides, hormones, or other complex compounds) that can be used to treat patients who lack the ability to produce those components naturally. An alternative for this role is to use other kinds of cells (yeast, for example). The second, theoretical use is to manufacture replacement organs or organ tissues for transplant.
There are two kinds of stem cells. This article focuses on embryonic which is very controversial. The other type of stem cell is those derived from adults. Research and commercial use of adult stem cells already occurs. Unfortunately, researchers are not able to do as much with adult stem cells because they have lost some of the potential that is retained in embryonic cells.
The are a number of arguments for and against using embryonic stem cells. The source of embryonic stem cells is the complete destruction of an embryo, which had the potential to become a human being. Additionally there is a fear that a market may develop for the creation and harvesting of embryos which could devalue human life. On the other hand, research has already demonstrated that embryonic stem cells can be used to significantly improve (and in some cases cure) many kinds of childhood illnesses and the quality of life that actual humans (children) could have.
A good reference to include might be the National Institute of Health’s Stem Cell web page at: http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/basics.