8 Important Pros and Cons of Embryonic Stem Cell Research

Because of its concept, embryonic stem cell research has become a hot topic in debates among scientific researchers, moral activists, religious groups and governments. It is a relatively new science that holds medical treatments for many debilitating diseases and disorders affecting people today. But like other new scientific technologies, it is also believed to potentially do harm. To get a good insight about this type of research, let us take a look at some of its pros and cons.

List of Pros of Embryonic Stem Cell Research

1. It can help treat many diseases.
As scientists direct the differentiation of embryonic stem cells into specific cell types, they will be able to use the resulting differentiated cells to treat certain diseases, which include diabetes, traumatic spinal cord injury, Duchenne’s muscular dystrophy, heart diseases, and vision and hearing loss. It is also claimed to have the potential to treat other medical problems, such as Parkinson’s disease, birth defects, Alzheimer’s disease and even cancer.

2. It allows for the reproduction of other cells.
The embryonic stem cells have the ability to initiate reproduction of other cells that we have in our bodies.

3. It is free of genetic diseases.
With the use of embryonic stem cells, it is guaranteed that the cells are free of genetic diseases. They are different from adult cells, which may have some genetic diseases, thus not able to be used for treatments.

4. It does not need organ transplants.
The main reason here is that stem cells can allow re-growing of organs lost due to disease, accident or tissue damage. This makes it easier for recipients as the organs are coming from their own DNA, so there will also be no risk organ rejection or debilitating immune suppressant medication.

List of Cons of Embryonic Stem Cell Research

1. Its method is generally controversial.
Embryonic stem cell research garnered great controversy because it derives cells from human embryos through the process of disassembling the embryo. The component cells are then grown in culture.

2. Its terminology in defining stem cells is deliberately misused.
The reason for this is that research proponents use the term “pluripotent”, which originally meant to imply that embryonic stem cells cannot make an embryo’s outer layer, called the trophoblast. However, the emptied stem cells are able to reform such layer and create an implantable embryo.

3. It is related to human cloning.
This is true, considering the technology duplicates an individual’s cells to keep off diseases or the effects that occur from serious injuries. This is seen as a therapeutic form of cloning and a similar procedure as reproductive cloning. Just to mention, an objective of therapeutic cloning is to produce embryonic stem cells, while for reproductive cloning, producing a baby.

4. Its treatments may not work.
Due to the fact that the process of growing stem cells has been in laboratories, it may have some limitations. Before these cells are used in any therapy, they will thus be made to go through a huge number of divisions in cell culture procedures that may cause an accumulation of faults, which, if not monitored, will be transferred to the patients.

Based on the pros and cons listed above, do you think embryonic stem cell research is a good thing generally, or not?