Saturday, August 26, 2006

Possible Embryonic Stem Cell Research Breakthrough

This week, some scientists announced a potential breakthrough in embryonic stem cell research, which could solve the ethical problem. They claim that they can remove a single stem cell from an embryo in an early state (with 8 cells as opposed to a hundred cells) without harming its development, and grow stem cell colonies from that single cell, as opposed to now where the embryo is destroyed in extracting stem cells. In in vitro fertilization treatment, preimplantation genetic diagnosis, the practice of taking a single cell from the embryo and testing it for genetic disorders is already in practice, and doesn't seem to effect the development of the embryo.

Stem cell research holds the promise of being able to cure diseases like diabetes and alzheimer. Many object because they believe it wrong to do scientific research at the cost of human lives. Others believe its okay to sacrifice lives to save lives. If this breakthrough is true, it would solve the ethical objection to stem cell research on the grounds that it results in the death of human lives. Of course, this wouldn't solve the ethical problems of in vitro fertilization treatment which results in a surplus of embryos which are either destroyed or frozen. See Part 1: Embryonic Stem Cell Research and Part 2: Embryonic Stem Cell Research for further in-depth discussion of stem cell research.


Anonymous Jason doesn't want to kill someone to make his life "easier" said...

The problem with this new "breakthrough" is that it's not proven to do "no damage" to the embryo. If there are only 8 cells, and we remove one, then it only has 87.5% of it's parts left. This would be OK if that was excess body fat on a dangerously obese person. But a developing embryo- this could be a major organ or external limb, "Look here Jim! This one's missing it's arm all the way to it's shoulder blade!" or "wow, I've never seen a child born without a head or spinal column!" We have no idea if the cells can make up for that missing cell or if it'll still kill the child. If they want cells, I'll gladly donate some- lots! Everytime you scratch your head, or skin; hock a loogie, snort the snot out of your nose and spit it out, etc- you are getting rid of cells, and lots of them.

Sun Aug 27, 12:39:00 AM EDT  

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