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Stem Cells - Butler

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Information about Stem Cells - Butler
Science-Technology

Published on November 4, 2008

Author: aSGuest2612

Source: authorstream.com

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The Biology and Ethics of Human Stem Cell Research : The Biology and Ethics of Human Stem Cell Research A Look at the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly Dr. Richard Holdeman, Indiana University rholdema@indiana.edu What is your stem cell I.Q.? : What is your stem cell I.Q.? Answer the following as True or False: 1. T F Stem cells hold great promise for the future of medicine. 2. T F Stem cells have been used by doctors to treat disease for decades. 3. T F The same technology used in stem cell research could be used to clone humans. 4. T F President Bush has made research on human embryonic stem cells illegal. 5. T F Human diseases have been successfully treated with stem cells taken from human embryos. Stem Cell Biology : Stem Cell Biology What are stem cells? Stem cells are cells that have the remarkable potential to develop into many different cell types in the body. Serving as a sort of repair system for the body, they can theoretically divide without limit to replenish other cells for as long as the person or animal is still alive. When a stem cell divides, each "daughter" cell has the potential to either remain a stem cell or become another type of cell with a more specialized function, such as a muscle cell, a red blood cell, or a brain cell. - NIH Website (http://stemcells.nih.gov/) Stem Cell Biology : Stem Cell Biology Stem Cell Biology : Stem Cell Biology What classes of stem cells are there? There are three classes of stem cells: totipotent, multipotent, and pluripotent. A fertilized egg is considered totipotent, meaning that its potential is total; it gives rise to all the different types of cells in the body. Stem cells that can give rise to a small number of different cell types are generally called multipotent. Pluripotent stem cells can give rise to any type of cell in the body except those needed to develop a fetus. - NIH Website (http://stemcells.nih.gov/) Stem Cell Biology : Stem Cell Biology Stem Cell Biology : Stem Cell Biology Stem Cell Biology : Stem Cell Biology Stem Cell Biology : Stem Cell Biology Totipotent cells could theoretically be used to regenerate any tissue in the body. Embryonic cells are easy to obtain from culture. A virtually limitless supply of cells would be available in culture. If enough cell lines were established and maintained in a bank, patients could be treated with cells that might not be rejected by the their immune systems. Potential Benefits of Using Embryonic Stem Cells: Stem Cell Biology : Stem Cell Biology Difficulties establishing and maintaining lines Difficulties obtaining pure cultures Potential for tumor formation Lack of proper differentiation Genomic instability Immune system rejection Ethical considerations Potential Problems with Embryonic Stem Cells: Stem Cell Biology : Stem Cell Biology To date there have been some encouraging results using embryonic stem cells to treat mice and monkeys, but there have been no clinically successful treatments in human beings. Stem Cell Biology : Stem Cell Biology What about using adult stem cells to treat disease? Stem Cell Biology : Stem Cell Biology Many of the technical hurdles have already been overcome without the ethical challenges surrounding embryonic stem cell research. Adult Stem Cells, in fact, have been used to successfully treat 65 human diseases to date. Stem Cell Biology : Stem Cell Biology Stem Cell Biology : Stem Cell Biology Stem Cell Biology : Stem Cell Biology For the first time in 19 years, a Korean woman walks on her own after being treated with adult stem cells from umbilical cord blood. - Korean Times (11/26/04) Stem Cell Biology : Stem Cell Biology For the first time researchers reconstitute a complete organ. New bladders were made by growing bladder cells from the patients on a biodegradable scaffolding. - Reported in the Lancet (April, 2006) Stem Cell Biology : Stem Cell Biology Some scientists, who support the use of embryonic stem cells in research, have also pushed for the creation of new cell lines through a process known as somatic cell nuclear transfer (scnt). This technology has also been called therapeutic cloning. Stem Cell Biology : Stem Cell Biology Stem Cell Biology : Stem Cell Biology Stem Cell Biology : Stem Cell Biology Does therapeutic cloning lead to the cloning of human beings? Stem Cell Biology : Stem Cell Biology Reproductive Cloning Therapeutic Cloning Stem Cell Biology : Stem Cell Biology Problems with ‘therapeutic cloning”: 1. 100% rate of death for the embryo. Creation of embryos for the purpose of harvesting their cells. Transplant rejection is still likely. Process is inefficient (1 cell line/50-100 oocytes). Pressure will be exerted to allow embryos to develop longer to harvest specialized cells. This is the same technology used for human reproductive cloning. Stem Cell Ethics : Stem Cell Ethics This is an ethical issue. Science is designed to tell us what is possible – what we can do. Science is not designed to tell us what is right – what we should do. To evaluate this technology one must employ some ethical system that comes from outside of science. Stem Cell Ethics : Stem Cell Ethics Experimentation on human embryos violates the standards of the Nuremberg Code for research involving human subjects: No experiment should be conducted where there is an a priori reason to believe that death or disabling injury will occur… 7. Proper preparations should be made and adequate facilities provided to protect the experimental subject against even remote possibilities of injury, disability ,or death. Stem Cell Ethics : Stem Cell Ethics Embryonic stem cell research, particularly “therapeutic” cloning, involves the creation of human life, which will be destroyed, for the purposes of harvesting cells for use in research or to treat disease in other individuals. What is the status of the human embryo? How is the embryo’s status weighed against the lives that might be saved by the technology? Stem Cell Ethics : Stem Cell Ethics Results with adult stem cells have shown that there is a proven, effective alternative to embryonic stem cell research that is not burdened with ethical problems. This should make research with human embryos unnecessary and undesirable. Stem Cells: The Good : Stem Cells: The Good Regenerative medicine holds tremendous promise for the future. Profound advances have already been made with adult stem cells. Efforts to address the ethical issues surrounding this technology are being made (e.g., “altered nuclear transfer” or ANT). The US government is not supporting research that involves the creation or destruction of embryos, but it is supporting research on existing embryonic stem cell lines. Stem Cells: The Bad : Stem Cells: The Bad State and private money is continuing to fuel research that will involve the creation and/or destruction of human embryos. The potential financial gains to be made by companies doing work on these technologies has put incredible pressure on scientists to push the envelope on this issue without due regard for the ethical issues involved. Stem Cells: The Bad : Stem Cells: The Bad Out-and-out fraud has been committed by Hwang Woo-Suk, one of the leading scientists in this field, who was the first to claim that he had established human embryonic cell lines from clones (SCNT). Stem Cells: The Ugly : Stem Cells: The Ugly Politicians and others have made ridiculous claims about the prospects of embryonic stem cell research. Thus, giving false hope to people and families afflicted with debilitating diseases. Stem Cells: The Ugly : Stem Cells: The Ugly “If we do the work that we can do in this country, the work that we will do when John Kerry is president, people like Christopher Reeve are going to walk, get up out of that wheelchair and walk again.” - Vice Presidential Candidate John Edwards on embryonic stem cells, 10/11/04. Stem Cells: The Ugly : Stem Cells: The Ugly This issue has become a political football with politicians lining up according to pro-life or pro-choice sentiments. The facts of the science have been lost in the process. Stem Cells: The Ugly : Stem Cells: The Ugly Scientists, who want to do science unfettered by ethical constraints, are decrying the current restrictions on embryonic stem cell research as major impediments to the scientific endeavor in general. Stem Cells: The Ugly : Stem Cells: The Ugly “A second major issue sapping the confidence of US biomedical researchers is the increasing opinion that the present political leadership and certain influential parts of society appear to have little understanding of or respect for, science.” - Nobel Laureate Paul Nurse, “US Biomedical Research under Siege,” Cell (1/13/2006). Stem Cells: The Ugly : Stem Cells: The Ugly The limited successes of embryonic stem cell research to date and the more encouraging developments with adult stem cells have not been reported accurately in the media, although as evidence continues to pile up, this may change. Conclusion : Conclusion Exciting developments in the field of regenerative medicine are now occurring. Most of these are coming from non-controversial research using adult stem cells. You have a responsibility to consider the ethics and the science involved and to act accordingly. Conclusion : Conclusion What limits should there be on this technology? Is reproductive cloning ok? How about human genetic enhancement? How about making human-animal chimeras? If any of these things are wrong, what makes them wrong? Why use a technology that offends a significant percentage of the population when there are other alternatives available? Regardless of your view of the human embryo, you have to be able to make ethical distinctions. Conclusion: How did you do? : Conclusion: How did you do? Answer the following as True or False: 1. T F Stem cells hold great promise for the future of medicine. 2. T F Stem cells have been used by doctors to treat disease for decades. 3. T F The same technology used in stem cell research could be used to clone humans. 4. T F President Bush has made research on human embryonic stem cells illegal. 5. T F Human diseases have been successfully treated with stem cells taken from human embryos. Stem Cell Resources : Stem Cell Resources AAAS Stem Cell Report (http://www.aaas.org/spp/sfrl/projects/stem/index.shtml) Bioethics.com (http://www.bioethics.com/) The Center for Bioethics and Human Dignity (http://www.cbhd.org/) Colson, Charles and Nigel Cameron, eds. Human Dignity in the Biotech Century: A Christian Vision for Public Policy. Intervarsity Press (2004). Do No Harm: the Coalition of Americans for Research Ethics (http://www.stemcellresearch.org/) NIH Stem Cell Resources (http://stemcells.nih.gov/) President’s Council on Bioethics (http://bioethics.gov/) Smith, Wesley J. Consumer’s Guide to a Brave New World. Encounter Books (2004).

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