Today, 6,000 patients have been treated with a

Today,
stem cell research particularly embryonic stem cell has been one of the most
remarkable areas of medical research. Joshi et al. (2016) affirm that stem cell
research has opened up a fascinating branch of research with its ability to
divide throughout life, differentiate into many different types of specialized
cells and eventually cure a plethora of diseases, namely leukemia, diabetes and
Parkinson’s disease. According to Vittana (2017), more than 60 diseases and
over 6,000 patients have been treated with a treatment that maneuvers the use
of cord blood stem cell. However, stem cell research has been tainted with debate
and controversy since the discovery of human embryonic stem cell (hESC) in 1998
(Joshi et al., 2016). The advancement of hESC research has been slowed by not
only ethical issues but also legal and social controversy (Joshi et al., 2016).
It creates many questions which must be answered. Here, we strongly oppose
human embryonic stem cell research and we will discuss on our reasons of the
objection from various perspectives, and suggest a better approach to continue
stem cell research without involving hESC.

 

Patil
(2014) states that question of ethics and moral values arise as the process of
extracting stem cells destroys the embryos, and will eventually lead to the
destruction of potential human life. However, since embryos do not exhibit the
characteristics of personhood in their early development stage, Patil (2014)
believes that embryos are merely one of the parts of human body and they deserve
the respect for their unique values but not to the extent as a fully developed
person. In order for them to have moral status independently, Patil (2014)
outlines several properties which they need to acquire which are psychological,
physiological, emotional and intellectual properties. Therefore, under these
circumstances, embryos are believed can be used for research purpose. Arguably,
it is rather doubtful to say that embryos have no moral status at all and have
the same status as other body parts of a human. Although embryos do not possess
the important attributes of personhood in the very beginning of their existence,
they will somehow exhibit them if they are allowed to develop and fulfill their
potential as human beings (Euro Stem Cell, 2011). Thus, embryos deserve the
same respect and right, equivalently with an adult or a newborn child.

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United States National Library of
Medicine (NLM) (2009) states that, in 2001, the use of stem cell lines was
announced permissible by President Bush as long as they are derived from the
destroyed embryos, and not from the new ones. Embryonic stem cell lines are
pluripotent embryonic stem cells which are grown in cell culture for months and
remain undifferentiated (Mandal, 2013). Mandal (2013) also highlights that these
stem cell lines then will be able to differentiate into desired cell type. In
other words, they will behave and function like a normal hESC. However, there
are still unforeseeable benefit and risk in this research. Vittana (2017)
explains that if stem cell lines are derived from the existing embryonic stem
cells and do not belong to the patient, the possibility of the patient’s body
to reject them is high. What is more crucial is, although National Institutes
of Health (NIH) opposes the further destruction of human embryos for research
purpose, the question on the moral status of the destroyed embryos still lie
unresolved since the use of existing embryonic stem cell lines is still
allowed. Overall, the complicity in exploiting the destroyed embryos is an
immoral act.

 

There
is no doubt that embryonic stem cell research offers a valuable chance to study
more about diseases and how to develop the cures. In response to this
undeniable fact, NLM (2009) states that NIH has diligently supplied its funding
to stem cell research particularly
hESC research since 2001. However, as a public funder, NIH
is responsible to allocate its resources in a just manner. On top of this
issue, Dresser (2010) argues that embryonic stem cell-based treatment is
relatively an expensive treatment and not all people can afford it due to the economic
barrier. This, therefore, raises some questions; does hESC research is aiming
to help people all over the globe and does it deserves the funding from NIH? In
addition, since most of the researchers concentrate on wealthy nations and health
problems of people there, Dresser (2010) highlights another social injustice
issue. The issue is questioning whether NIH and US government have the desire
to improve the health of people in poor nations which continued to decline by
time or the research funding decision is influenced by congressional politics
(Dresser, 2010). As expressed, it is unfair to devote a lot of money to the
research while there are still so many people suffering from lack of access to
basic health care especially those who live in poor countries.

REFERENCES

19
Advantages and Disadvantages of Stem Cell Research.
(2017). Vittana.org.
Retrieved 5 December 2017, from

19 Advantages and Disadvantages of Stem Cell Research

Dresser,
R. (2010). Stem Cell Research as Innovation: Expanding the Ethical and Policy
Conversation. The Journal Of Law,
Medicine & Ethics, 38(2),
332-341. http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1748-720x.2010.00492.x

Human
embryonic stem cell research and ethics. (2011) (pp. 1-5).
Retrieved from
https://www.eurostemcell.org/system/files?file=documents/resources/Human_ES_ethics_1.pdf

Joshi,
Y., Kabiir, R., Upreti, P., Lee, W., Papadopoulos, K., & Ferdaos, N.
(2016). Potential Impact and Controversy of Stem Cells in Public Health. International
Journal Of Scientific Research In Science, Engineering And Technology, 2(5),
9-14.

Koch,
V., Roxland, B., Pohl, B., & Keech, S. (2013). Contemporary Ethical Issues
in Stem Cell Research. Stem Cells Handbook,
29-37. http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4614-7696-2_2

Patil,
A. (2014). Embryonic Stem Cell Research Ethical and Legal Controversies. J
Indian Acad Forensic Med, 36(2),
188-194.

Salim,
S. (2015). The Stem Cells: Miracles in a vial or a debacle to be!. Bioscience
Biotechnology Research Communications, 8(2),
110-115.

United
States National Library of Medicine (NLM). (2009). Ethical
Issues in Stem Cell Research. National Center for
Biotechnology Information (NCBI).