November 27, 2009
Stem Cell Assignment
By definition, stem cells are those cells with the ability to divide for indefinite periods in culture and to give rise to specialized cells. Stem cells are unlike other cell types in the body due to being able to reproducing themselves through cell division and they can also become tissue or organ specific cells. These cells can reproduce even after long periods of inactivity, and can develop special functions. After cell division they have the ability to become a new cell with a specialized function or to remain a stem cell. These traits are what make stem cells divinely unique. Because of these unique abilities these stem cells are potentially important additions to the world of medicine. Although banned by former president George W. Bush, their regenerate abilities can be vital for treating diseases and heart conditions. The ability of stem cells to replace damaged cell is the most glaring trait. The issue at hand is still how exactly they should be used to treat such diseases. Stem cells themselves do not possess specialized functions but they can give rise to cells that do. Scientists have primarily worked with two kinds of stem cells, embryonic and adult stem cells. Primary role of an adult stem cell is to maintain and repair tissue. The biggest difference between the two are the number and type of differentiated cell types they can be come.
The article I read, “The Case for Adult Stem Cell Research” by Wolfgang Lillge, is about whether to use the embryonic stem cells for medical therapies or to use the adult stem cells. The embryonic stem cells have not been used to treat any person to date while the adult stem cells have a few success stories under its belt. According to the author the potential of embryonic cells are often exaggerated in a one sided way. “Embryonic stem cells are taken from a developing embryo at the blastocyst stage, destroying the embryo, a developing human life.” Although...