Stem Cell Research and Therapy
When most people think of stem cell research some very vivid images come to their minds. Powerful images of cancer patients and sufferers of brain damage, as well as equally strong images of aborted fetuses and the idea of science over stepping its boundaries lend themselves to very heated debate. But, as clear as those ideas are, there is very little room for any room for any black-and-white, good-or-evil mentality. Does one choose one side, forgo the other and decide that the effects to those involved are acceptable? Over the years there has plenty of gray area to keep the debate fueled. Therefore, if any progress is to be made, everyone involved in the debate must come to some kind of compromise(however unlikely to happen this may be).
Although most people think of stem cell therapy as a new and futuristic science, it was actually discovered in the 1960's. In order to truly understand the potential benefit of stem cell therapy, one must understand exactly how stem cells work to heal these problems. Stem cells are undifferentiated, meaning that they act as a sort of 'cell template.' They posses a varied potency to differentiate into healthy cells. Totipotent stem cells come from embryos and can differentiate into all different types of cells. Pluripotent stem cells are the next stage of totipotent cell development and can differentiate into anything in the three germ layers. Multipotent stem cells only differentiate into cells closely related to their origin. For instance, stem cell taken from blood can only differentiate into cells related to blood, such as platelets, white blood cells and red blood cells. Unipotent stem cells can only differentiate into one type of cell, such as skin cells. Unipotent stem cells are only distinguished from non-stem cells by their ability of self-renewal. This allows skin to heal without necessarily having to form scar tissue every time. (Stem Cell)
The germ layers, or primary tissue layers,...