Stem Cells

Subject: Science
Type: Argumentative Essay
Pages: 4
Word count: 1008
Topics: Biotechnology, Biology, Medicine, Nature

Stem cells refer to the type of cells in multicellular organisms that are undifferentiated. The cells can give rise to new cells after long periods of time via the process of cell division (Bianco et al., 2001). Some of the important properties of stem cells are that they are an unspecialized group of cells. Since they are still undifferentiated, stem cells are not organ specific. They can also be induced through experimental or physiological means to give rise organ-specific cells such as muscle cells, nerve cells, or even reproductive cells (berlin et al., 2012). With the advancement of the medical and scientific fields, stem cells have become significant in exploring various medical breakthroughs around the world. 

The first instances of the harvesting of human stem cells for scientific explorations first occurred in the 1950s. The woman, known as Henrietta Lacks, admitted for cervical cancer, was later discovered to be able to produce cells that were capable of multiplying by millions if cultured (Truog et al., 2012). The doctors and scientists who performed an autopsy on Lacks harvested her cells, which were cultured and commercialized with the name of HeLa Cells.

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The insight of the HeLa cells brought new opportunities in the medical world. For instance, in 1968, the first bone marrow transplant was accomplished. The bone marrow is a critical part of human physiology has it is comprised of somatic cells. The somatic cells are responsible for reproducing the different blood cells like the leukocytes, red blood cells, and the platelets that are part of the circulatory system ((Morrison & Scadden, 2014). The bone marrow stem cells could be harvested from the bloodstream. Also, the umbilical cord stem cells of a newborn could be harvested (Lee et al., 2014) and used to treat blood cancer, some disorders of the bone marrow, and a weakened immune system. 

Secondly, the stem cells have presented ample opportunities in the field of plastic surgery. Plastic surgeons, whose area of expertise involves grafting of the skin and the adipose tissue use stem cells in most of their ventures (Salibian et al., 2013). Plastic surgery has been used to treat tissue losses that may have been caused by congenital malfunctions. Also, they are used to treat wounds that may result from such phenomena as burns and exposure to radiations. Cosmetic surgery is also the other area that employs the use of stem cells biotechnology. 

The use of stem cells in the cosmetic industry is the most recent application of the biotechnological use of the cells. The main component used in making such products like anti-ageing creams are stem cells derived from plants (Mizuno et al., 2012). Apart from the anti-ageing creams, stem cells are also being used in techniques meant to augment fat in a bid to rejuvenate one’s aging face using their stem cells (Mizuno et al., 2012). In this case, the stem cells are harvested from other parts of the body and used on the face.

Apart from the already witnessed applications of the stem cells biotechnology, scientists have forecasted that they could be employed in more scientific ventures in the future. For instance, spinal cord injuries may subject one into permanent paralysis. However, scientists are doing research that tries to find out the possibilities of use of cells grown from cell types to recuperate from spinal injuries through delivering the cells into the spinal column. However, as much as the potential of future breakthroughs remains wide, scientists have advised that people ought to draw a line between hope and mere hype with regards to the possibilities that are bound to occur in future. 

Despite the excitement on the importance of stem cells in human life, there are controversies that have come up based on moral implication of destroying human some regions political leaders have been involved in discussing on how to regulate and give funds to research that involves embryonic stem cells. The debate is about the major side effects of stem cells transplants and the interference of embryonic life. The debate has become irrelevant because human stem cells are still being used and their advantages outweigh the disadvantages. In United States, the government passed a law to regulate stem cell research and prohibit the creation of embryos from donors in fertility clinics. The issue still has a disagreement with the federal court because scientists believe the process has no direct danger to human life. It is important to create a comfortable world for people to live because some researches like stem cells transplant can create life. Technology is changing and so is the medical field because of the increase in research institutes. The main aim of researching on stem cells is to improve the human life by coming up with solutions to diseases, infertility and other related issues.

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  1. Bellin, M., Marchetto, M. C., Gage, F. H., & Mummery, C. L. (2012). Induced pluripotent stem cells: the new patient?. Nature reviews Molecular cell biology, 13(11), 713-726.
  2. Bianco, P., Riminucci, M., Gronthos, S., & Robey, P. G. (2001). Bone marrow stromal stem cells: nature, biology, and potential applications. Stem cells, 19(3), 180-192.
  3. Lee, O. K., Kuo, T. K., Chen, W. M., Lee, K. D., Hsieh, S. L., & Chen, T. H. (2004). Isolation of multipotent mesenchymal stem cells from umbilical cord blood. Blood, 103(5), 1669-1675.
  4. Truog, R. D., Kesselheim, A. S., & Joffe, S. (2012). Paying patients for their tissue: The legacy of Henrietta Lacks. Science, 337(6090), 37-38.
  5. Mizuno, H., Tobita, M., & Uysal, A. C. (2012). Concise review: adiposederived stem cells as a novel tool for future regenerative medicine. Stem cells, 30(5), 804-810.
  6. Morrison, S. J., & Scadden, D. T. (2014). The bone marrow niche for haematopoietic stem cells. Nature, 505(7483), 327-334.
  7. Salibian, A. A., Widgerow, A. D., Abrouk, M., & Evans, G. R. (2013). Stem cells in plastic surgery: a review of current clinical and translational applications. Archives of plastic surgery, 40(6), 666-675.
  8. Yoshimura, K., Suga, H., & Eto, H. (2009). Adipose-derived stem/progenitor cells: roles in    adipose tissue remodeling and potential use for soft tissue augmentation.
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