In this section you find ethical issues surrounding stem cell therapy. StemGena module of the HumGen websiteis a research database of international, regional and national normative instruments concerning the socio-ethical and legal aspects of stem cell research and related therapies: Respect for human life Respect for human life requires that we show respect for human embryos.
For one thing, unlike most normal types of cells, stem cells are capable of dividing and regenerating for long periods of time. Why do these properties portend medical breakthroughs? Many of the deadliest diseases, such as cancerare the result of uncontrolled cellular division.
By studying how stem cells are able to reproduce without causing damage, scientists may be able to better understand the disease and determine more effective treatments. And the ability to regenerate new, unspecialized cells could revolutionize treatment for conditions caused by cellular degeneration.
For example, during a stroke, brain cells are irreparably damaged; stem cells could kick-start the regenerative process and undergo specialization to replace the lost cells.
Research on possible treatments has been limited due to ethical concerns over where the stem cells came from. Until recently, scientists only knew of two ways to obtain stem cells -- from embryos and from adults.
Adult stem cells are found in various parts of the body, such as the brain, bone marrow, bloodskin and heart, but they tend not to divide very often once they are removed from the body, and there has been some difficulty in re-specializing these cells.
It is embryonic stem cells that cause controversy. Removing the stem cells requires the destruction of the embryo, which some people liken to destruction of a human being.
The issue comes down to the question of when life begins: Those who believe that life starts at the moment of conception think that harvesting embryonic stem cells is akin to murder. Some critics of this viewpoint have argued that these embryos were marked for destruction and then donated by their owners, meaning that these embryos would never have come to term anyway, but others predict that this excuse might lead to more ethically questionable actions in the future, such as harvesting embryos specifically for research.
In recent years, researchers have tried to find ways to obtain embryonic stem cells without destroying the embryos. One method of deriving stem cells from mice embryos has proven successful. Researchers are also experimenting with reprogramming adult stem cells to act more like embryonic stem cells.
These cells, known as induced pluripotent stem cells, hold promise, but scientists would still like the opportunity to pursue work with the embryonic stem cells.Stem cells: What they are and what they do.
Stem cells and derived products offer great promise for new medical treatments. Learn about stem cell types, current and possible uses, ethical issues, and the state of research and practice.
The stem cell-research is an example of the, sometimes difficult, cost-benefit analysis in ethics which scientists need to do.
Even though many issues regarding the ethics of stem cell research have now been solved, it serves as a valuable example of ethical cost-benefit analysis. Watch video · Embryonic stem cells offer hope for new therapies, but their use in research has been hotly debated.
Presenting the issues, rationale and key ethical arguments. The Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CIHR) drafted a list of recommendations for stem cell research in In the U.S., the Clinton administration drafted guidelines for stem cell research in Australia, Germany, the United Kingdom, and other countries followed suit .
Participation in research involving embryonic stem cells requires respect for embryos, research participants, donors, and recipients. Embryonic stem cell research does not violate the ethical standards of the profession. Research on possible treatments has been limited due to ethical concerns over where the stem cells came from.
Until recently, scientists only knew of two ways to obtain stem cells -- from embryos and from adults.