Stem cell research embodies human activities that attempt to create, treat and destroy human embryos. It is the research activity done on embryonic stem cells. Other cells are not prone to the creation and treatment that is applied in the general study. For instance, stem cells of adults, amniotic cells and induced pluripotent stem cells, do not involve human embryos. Researches concerning stem cells have proved their best in treating various diseases in human beings and animals. As usual, the embryonic and non embryonic cells are used in such studies. Human embryonic cells have an ability to grow rapidly in a laboratory under equitable environmental conditions. They can differentiate into multiple human tissues that can be used for treatment. This makes cellular therapies effective in treating various human diseases. In addition to scientific importance, stem cell research possesses undesirable dangers to human life in general. That is why stem cell research is called a two headed monster (Panno, 2005).
Stem cells are characterized by their innate ability to replicate into various cells. Therefore, they are used in repair of worn out tissues in human bodies. They are effective in replenishing old and worn out human cells. These cells have an ability to remain as original cells or change into other type. For instance, they are liable to change from a blood cell to a brain cell. Furthermore, stem cells posses other characteristic facets that make them differ from other cells. They are capable to division through cell division (Humber, 2004). This can occur even after a long period of inactivity. They can also be turned into particular tissues possessing other characteristics. This happens under certain physiologic and environmental conditions. For instance, cells in the bone marrow and gut replicate to replenish old cells and make them new with important functionalities. In the pancreases and heart cells, stem cells can replicate only under certain special conditions. If these conditions are provided, cell division is likely to occur.
Recent studies on stem cell research have enabled scientists realize and work with two kinds of stem cells. These were based on plants and animals. A detailed study of a mouse led to realization of a method that can be used to derive stem cells from embryos of human beings and grow them in a laboratory. The used cells were created by in vitro fertilization. In 2006, advancement was achieved concerning stem cells. Scientists were able to realize certain conditions that could allow genetic programming of adult stem cells in order to match them with natural stem cells. These cells were called induced pluripotent stem cells (Metaphilosophy Series, 2008).
Induced pluripotent stem cells are used in modern day medicine in various ways. One of the most important abilities of stem cell is treating diseases. When creating induced pluripotent cells, they are forced to exemplify certain genes and factors as those of the parent cell. In human beings, these cells are capable to demonstrate characteristics as those of germ layer cells. Viruses are currently used to introduce concepts of stem cell research into cells of human beings with a prospect of disease treatment. It is a technical and dangerous process. However, maximum care is being observed while using them. It is proposed that these cells will be used to repair damaged human tissues, and possibly enable the human immune system work in accordance to induced medicines.
The debate on stem cell research has intensified in the present day life. This research begins with destruction of a human the embryo. Destruction of embryo is considered a violation of sanctity of life. Others believe that this activity is against the normal functioning of human life in general. Moreover, apart from being vital in treatment of certain diseases and disorders, stem cell research can bring freaks in the society. It is tantamount to murder. These contravening beliefs and intentions arise due to the mechanism in which stem cell research is being carried out. One should not forget about the potential outcomes that can influence human lives (National Bioethics Advisory Commission, 2004).
Stem cell research also elicits various issues pertaining to morals and ethical concerns in the society. This is based on the fact that it is an abuse of human life. It deprives an individual’s right to humanity and individuality. Moreover, it paves way for eugenic selection in human life. If the entire regeneration process takes place without checking, it is liable to produce more hazardous effects on the lives of individuals. One can call such action the attempt to ‘play God’ (Humber, 2004).
There are several ethical theories that have discussed this issue. Utilitarianism and deontological theories have been exemplified by opponents of stem cell research. The reason of disaffection is the fact that since stem cell research began, the best results have been produced through destruction of other lives. The resultant effects of this research are unworthy; hence this beats logic based on utilitarian theory. Therefore, the action itself is wrong. Basing stem cell research with existing laws governing human life, it is considered wrong to destroy an individual’s embryo in order to safe others. Therefore, more concern needs to be taken about stem cell research. It should not thwart human sanctity of life, but should pose several parameters to safe it (Humber, 2004).