Imagine being able to duplicate your heart, and if you need a new one, you can get that ‘reserve heart’ as a transplant. Imagine a world where there is less disease and injuries can heal faster. Adult stem cell research is trying to achieve that. But despite having good intentions, many people are against it. If this is supposed to be helpful to human beings, why are there people who oppose it? These pros and cons of adult stem cell research can give you a better idea why it is received with mixed opinions.
List of Pros of Adult Stem Cell Research
1. It can help treat a variety of medical problems.
Adult stem research can prove to be extremely beneficial in treating a variety of medical problems, such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease, heart disease, stroke, diabetes and spinal cord injuries. It can even replace or repair damaged organs. By being able to treat these conditions more effectively, people can enjoy longer and healthier lives.
2. It helps reduce the risk of transplantation.
One of the goals of adult stem research is to eventually provide people with the possibility of getting a copy of their own organs if ever they need an organ transplant in the future. By utilizing small samples of adult tissues, an initial culture of a patient’s own cells can be obtained for expansion, then subsequently allow an autologous transplant. This process can lessen the risk of immune rejection by the recipient. It can also protect patients from bacterial, viral, and other contamination if he is receiving a transplant from another individual donor.
3. It provides an alternative for embryonic stem cell research.
By focusing the research on adult stem cell research, more medical professionals can stop pushing for the support of embryonic stem cell research, which involves taking tissue from an aborted embryo. Pro-life supporters are against stem cell research because they believe a fetus already has a life from the day of conception.
List of Cons of Adult Stem Cell Research
1. It has a limited supply.
Stem cell research requires a large amount of stem cells. However, adults only have a small amount of stem cells so they are difficult to isolate. Also, adult stem cells don’t last that long because of a higher probability for DNA mutations and of their age.
2. It is less flexible.
Because they come directly from the blastocyst, fertilized eggs that were not implanted into a woman, embryonic stem cells can replace a wide variety of human tissues and are more versatile. On the other hand, adult stem cells are older and are stretched out, so the stem cells tend to tighten more and have less versatility. Also, adult stem cells can only reproduce the tissue they came from. So if they came from a blood stem cell, they can only make more blood.
3. It is messing with the natural order of life.
There are people who believe that we are all meant to die one way or another. By ‘artificially’ interfering with a human body’s natural aging process, you are also messing with the natural order of things, which is for someone to get sick or have an accident and eventually pass away. They believe it is not man’s role to play God or to mess with another person’s life using unnatural means.
Medical discoveries and advancements are there to ideally improve life. And adult stem cell research seems to be moving with that principle. However, what may be controversial for most people are the methods used in conducting the research.