Katrina WeltonQuinn ENGL 2950-710April 18, 2011Hybrid Research Paper       Stewart Sell, a senior scientist at Ordway Canc...
like. Since stem cells are able to divide and renew themselves, they can be used toessentially “grow” a new heart for a pe...
cells or white blood cells), and unipotent cells (cells that only become a specific singlecell). Multipotent stem cells ha...
derived from the embryo after fertilization either in the uterus or in a lab setting (mostlyfrom In vitro Fertilization). ...
would call the creator of the embryo before throwing it away and if the owner couldn’t bereached, the embryo would continu...
which the embryos have been created, is a heated issue in federal funding policycreation as well as federal law making.   ...
Obama approved $21 million dollars for funding Stem Cell Research as well as therelease of 40 new lines of embryonic stem ...
The successes of Stem Cell Research are increasing as more funding becomesavailable. In one case, the temporomandibular jo...
indication of how beneficial stem cell research can be to the economy, job creation andmedical world.         Studying ste...
ReferencesAFCARS. "Foster Care Statistics." Child Welfare Information Gateway. Web. 10 Apr.        2011. <http://www.child...
Web. 10 Apr. 2011. <http://repository.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?        article=1006&context=bioethics_papers>.Hollowe...
Robertson, John A. “Embryo Stem Cell Research: Ten Years of Controversy.” Journal        of Law, Medicine & Ethics (2010):...
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Hybrid research paper

  1. 1. Katrina WeltonQuinn ENGL 2950-710April 18, 2011Hybrid Research Paper Stewart Sell, a senior scientist at Ordway Cancer Research Institute, said, “In thebeginning there is the stem cell; it is the origin of an organisms life. It is a single cell thatcan give rise to progeny that differentiate into any of the specialized cells of embryonicor adult tissues.” This is how all life begins. A single cell can create a complex system of organs,tissues, muscles and bones. If one cell can effectively create all these vital parts of ourbodies, what can these cells do for people living with damaging diseases and cancers?If it can be so beneficial to our human existence, why is it such a controversial topic inour society? Are there ways to ethically use these cells without the input of religion orpolitics, or must this topic be discussed and considered with these values in mind? Ibelieve it is necessary to state before I begin that I am pro-choice. I will be discussingthe importance of this stance, as well as inputting my views on this issue and thecontroversy associated with it throughout this paper. There is a need for stem cell research because stem cells offer new potentials fortreating diseases such as diabetes, heart disease and many others. I believe that bylearning to effectively use both adult stem cells (ASC’s) and embryonic stem cells(ESC’s), we can begin to lessen these life-threatening diseases that affect the peoplewe love every day. Think about what a world without debilitating diseases would be1|Page
  2. 2. like. Since stem cells are able to divide and renew themselves, they can be used toessentially “grow” a new heart for a person with heart disease. Imagine what it wouldbe like to never have the fear of serious illness or premature death. I believe that now more than ever, there is an increased need for researchregarding these cells. There is a need to bring this issue to the forefront and inform thepublic about the pros and cons of moving forward in the stem cell research field. Thisstudy will be useful to enlighten those who may not know a lot about stem cell research.It will bring religion, politics and ethics into consideration and show how these affectsone’s stance on this issue. Through this academic essay and a PowerPointpresentation, I hope to teach the public about the benefits and also the drawbacksassociated with this issue. There is a lot of jargon used in this area of researchpertaining to where the stem cells come from as well as how they are obtained. I will tryto keep it as jargon-free as possible while going into as much detail as I can. I willdiscuss the dangers and benefits of stem cell research through literature from academicjournals, government websites as well as scientific articles. In the world of stem cells, there are many beneficial applications of stem cells inareas such as tissue engineering, regenerative medicine, cell therapy, and genetherapy. Stem cells are able to renew themselves and produce specific characteristicsand functions based on their potential and source. Human stem cells include totipotentembryonic cells (cells that appear in the early stages of embryonic development) whichhave the ability of becoming a complete organism, pluripotent embryonic cells (cells thatcan become into any type of cell other than embryonic structures, such as the umbilicalcord and placenta), multipotent adult cells (cells that can become platelets, red blood2|Page
  3. 3. cells or white blood cells), and unipotent cells (cells that only become a specific singlecell). Multipotent stem cells have a greater potential for success and differentiationpotential. Within these four types of human stem cells there are thousands of differenttypes of cells in our bodies that can differentiate into specific tissues, organs or vascularsystems. Currently, thirteen percent of ESC’s, two percent of Fetal Stem Cells, tenpercent of Umbilical cord stem cells, and seventy-five percent of Adult stem cells areused in cell therapy procedures (Liars 2010). These cells can help to treat Lou Gehrig disease, deaminase deficiency,immunodeficiency, Shwachman-Bodian-Diamond syndrome, Gaucher disease,Muscular dystrophy, Parkinson and Huntington disease, diabetes mellitus, lymphoma,leukemia, immunodeficiency, congenital metabolic defects, and down syndrome. Stemcells have the potential to benefit 70 million patients with cardiovascular disease, 50million with autoimmune diseases, 18 million with diabetes, 10 million with cancer, 4.5million with Alzheimer’s disease, 1 million with Parkinson’s disease, 1.1 million withburns and wounds and 0.15 million with medullary lesions.(Liras 2010). With thepotential to “cure” almost all human diseases from our world by replacing defective ordead cells with normal or genetically modified normal cells (Induced Pluripotent StemCells, iPSC’s) and benefit millions of people, why is there so much controversy over thisresearch? Stem cells can be classified in two forms before they are categorized intototipotent, unipotent, multipotent, or plurpotent cells. These forms are human adult stemcells and human embryonic stem cells. Adult stem cell’s tend to be more ethically,socially, religiously and legally acceptable than embryonic stem cells since they are not3|Page
  4. 4. derived from the embryo after fertilization either in the uterus or in a lab setting (mostlyfrom In vitro Fertilization). They also are thought to be less likely to initiate rejectionafter transplantation. In the Journal of Law, Science and Innovation, John A. Robertsondescribes the fact that people who are pro-life tend to think of stem cell research as thedestruction of embryos, the same as abortion. These people oppose destroyingembryos, even if they will be discarded in the future because they are no longer wantedby the couples who created them to treat infertility. I’d like to mention that not all peoplewho choose to have a religious or political stance as pro-life view cell research this way,there are inconsistencies. Robertson doesn’t input his view on this issue, but I see anissue with these values. There are over 463,000 children in foster care in the United States alone and ofthat number 47 percent live in non-relative foster family homes, 24 percent in relativefoster homes, 10 percent in institutions, 6 percent in group homes, 4 percent in pre-adoptive homes, 5 percent on trial home visits, 2 percent had run away and 1 percent insupervised independent living (AFCARS 2010). If a human life at the cellular level is sovitally important to a person’s ethical, religious and political beliefs, why don’t thesechildren matter to them? These children come into foster care under very different andsometimes difficult circumstances but regardless, no child deserves to be abandoned bytheir parents. This means that 926,000 people, consciously or not, made the decisionto give up their children. To draw a parallel between these numbers and ESC’s, asmany as 400,000 embryos sit frozen in storage so long that they become fragile andunusable and disposed of. However, 95% of the fertility clinics surveyed said they4|Page
  5. 5. would call the creator of the embryo before throwing it away and if the owner couldn’t bereached, the embryo would continue to sit in the freezer (Gurmankin 2004). In the Impact article written by Dr. Kelly Hollowell (who has a Ph.D. in Molecularand Cellular Pharmacology) decides to ignore the fact that a fertility clinics worldwidethrow out more than 400,000 embryos per year and takes a conservative stance on theissue. She says, “We do not consider it appropriate to take organs for dying patients orprisoners on death row before they have died in order to increase someone else’schances for healing or cure. Neither, then, should we consider any embryos “spare” sothat we may destroy them for their stem cells.” I don’t believe this is a logical way ofthinking about scientific research nor do I believe that the parallel that she hasattempted to draw between embryos and a death row inmate is a good one. Bybringing death row into the picture, it has simultaneously added one entirely differentcontroversial topic to the situation. Whether the stance is pro-life, pro-choice, for stemcell research, or against stem cell research, I think we can all acknowledge the fact thatthese unused embryos should be put to use before they have to been thrown away. I strongly believe that religion plays a big part in the decision of whether tosupport or oppose embryonic stem cell research. Chances are when someone with areligious view opposing abortion is asked about stem cell research, they will oppose thisas well. However, as I said before, this is not always true. Senators John McCain andOrrin Hatch are pro-life but do not recognize the early embryo (for the sake of research)in the same context as they do a fetus (Robertson 2010). There are many differentviews on this issue and when that happens, it becomes a very controversial subject.The difference between the importance of research and reproduction, the purpose for5|Page
  6. 6. which the embryos have been created, is a heated issue in federal funding policycreation as well as federal law making. It is clearly evident that making laws and creating funding for embryonic stem cellresearch can become messy because so many people have different ethical andreligious values. Presidents in the past have cut funding based on their beliefs byallowing embryonic stem cell research on cells taken prior to 2001 but no new cells.President Bush, during his time in office, said, “I also believe human life is a sacred giftfrom our Creator. I worry about a culture that devalues life, and believe as yourPresident I have an important obligation to foster and encourage respect for life inAmerica and throughout the world. And while were all hopeful about the potential of thisresearch, no one can be certain that the science will live up to the hope it hasgenerated…I have concluded that we should allow federal funds to be used for researchon these existing stem cell lines, where the life and death decision has already beenmade.” (Bush 2001). This was lifted in March of 2009 by President Obama saying, “When it comes tostem cell research…our government has forced…a false choice between sound scienceand moral values. In this case… the two are not inconsistent. As a person of faith, Ibelieve we are called to care for each other and work to ease human suffering. Ibelieve we have been given the capacity and will to pursue this research and thehumanity and conscience to do so responsibly…The majority of Americans – fromacross the political spectrum, and of all backgrounds and beliefs – have come to aconsensus that we should pursue this research. That the potential it offers is great, andwith proper guidelines and strict oversight, the perils can be avoided.” President6|Page
  7. 7. Obama approved $21 million dollars for funding Stem Cell Research as well as therelease of 40 new lines of embryonic stem cells. Along with this, there are hundreds ofESC’s created from leftover embryos since 2001 are used to continue research this field(Robertson 2010). These advances are relatively small, but still an advance in acontroversial field of research where the line between religion and research is blurred. In the Berkeley Technology Law Journal, David E. Winickoff begins to bring thepublicity of stem cell research in California to the forefront. He explains that inNovember 2004 there was an approval of funding for the California Stem Cell Researchand Cures Initiative. This marked a sea of change in the future research and funding forthe future of stem cell research. It is mentioned that this will have a strong influence onhow stem cell research are regulated nationwide. California’s decision will help to fuel anationwide spark to make stem cell research available in the clinical level. This isdifferent from the article written by Robertson because it focuses more on the fundingaspect. The US Food and Drug Administration have already approved the first clinicaltrial of products derived from human embryonic stem cells in acute spinal cord injuries.They have also began creating a regulatory system for cell and tissue based productsby the “prevention of use of contaminated tissues or cells (such as AIDS or hepatitis),prevention of inadequate handling or processing that may damage or contaminate thosetissues or cell, and clinical safety of all tissues or cells that may be processed, used forfunctions other than normal functions, combined with components other than tissues, orused for metabolic purposes.” (Liars 2010). For now, the federal debate of embryonicstem cell research has been removed from politics but needless to say, the fight is notover (Robertson 2010).7|Page
  8. 8. The successes of Stem Cell Research are increasing as more funding becomesavailable. In one case, the temporomandibular joint in the jaw was recreated for peoplewho have lost it through disease or injury. A Biomedical Engineer at ColumbiaUniversity created it using stem cells as seen in a video in my PowerPoint. Anotheramazing account is the story of a young boy suffering from Sickle Cell Anemia. He hadgreat pain because of this disease until he was treated with his younger brother’sumbilical cord blood. It was a perfect match for what he needed and when he receivedtreatments of it his cells began to repair themselves and his red blood count becamenormal. These are just two success stories of the thousands in the world that havebeen successfully treated using stem cell therapy. One of many remaining issues in this field is the price of stem cell therapy.Currently, a cell therapy treatment may cost more than $40,000 due to the individualityof each drug product produced for each specific case. This cost includes: multiplesurgical procedures, maintenance of strict sterile conditions, specific training for staffand overall technical and staff support (Liars 2010). The revenue created by the U.S.market for stem cell research is huge. In 2007 it produced $110 million dollars andexpected to reach an estimated $423.1 million by the end of 2012. Almost 98% of thisis blood and immune system treatments. Other areas of treatment account for $1 billionin 2010 (Edwards 2008). These figures (seen below in a bar graph) are just another8|Page
  9. 9. indication of how beneficial stem cell research can be to the economy, job creation andmedical world. Studying stem cells will help the world understand how they transform into thespecialized cells that make up what we are. Some of the most serious medicalconditions are caused by issues in the creation process after fertilization in these cells.Although embryonic stem cell research still has major obstacles to overcome to helppeople at a clinical level, we are moving in the right direction by allowing the research tocontinue. A better understanding of normal cell development will allow the correction ofthese errors that cause the most serious medical conditions (NIH 2000). I believe thatno matter the religious, political, or ethical view, stem cell research should be viewed asa positive advance in regenerative medicine that may one day re-shape the medicalindustry as we know it. Where ever there is a place for an opinion, there is a place fordebate and that may never change. Hopefully one day we can put our personal viewsaside and come together for the welfare of humanity and the future of our medicalworld.9|Page
  10. 10. ReferencesAFCARS. "Foster Care Statistics." Child Welfare Information Gateway. Web. 10 Apr. 2011. <http://www.childwelfare.gov/pubs/factsheets/foster.cfm>.Bush, George. "President Bush: Decision on Stem Cell Research." U.S. Government Info - Resources. 9 Aug. 2001. Web. 17 Apr. 2011. <http://usgovinfo.about.com/blwhrelease16.htm>.CIRM. "Colonies of Human Embryonic Stem Cells." Flickr - California Institute of Regenerative Medicine. 15 Jan. 2009. Web. 17 Apr. 2011. <http://www.flickr.com/photos/cirm/3199302421/>.Duchardt, Kilmeny. "Human Jawbone Grown from Stem Cells | Video | Reuters.com." Business & Financial News, Breaking US & International News | Reuters.com. Web. 17 Apr. 2011. <http://www.reuters.com/news/video? videoId=71550555>.Edwards, Steven. "Stem Cell Therapies and Regenerative Medicine: Current Applications and Future Possibilities." Market Research Reports, Industry Analysis, Newsletters and Conferences. Dec. 2005. Web. 17 Apr. 2011. <http://www.bccresearch.com/report/BIO035B.html>.Global Grind Staff. "Embryonic Stem Cell Therapy Starts Human Testing | Global Grind." Global Grind. 12 Oct. 2010. Web. 17 Apr. 2011. <http://globalgrind.com/news/embryonic-stem-cell-therapy-starts-human-testing>.Gurmankin, Andrea D., Dominic Sisti, and Arthur L. Caplan. "Embryo Disposal Practices in IVF Clinics in the." University of Pennsylvania Scholary Commons, Aug. 2004.10 | P a g e
  11. 11. Web. 10 Apr. 2011. <http://repository.upenn.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi? article=1006&context=bioethics_papers>.Hollowell, Dr. Kelly. "Ten Problems with Embryonic Stem Cell Research." Institute for Creation Research. Web. 10 Apr. 2011. <http://www.icr.org/article/ten-problems- with-embryonic-stem-cell-research/>.Jason. "Should Stem Cell Research Be Allowed? DEBATEitOUT.com." DEBATEitOUT.com | Debate Online with People! Web. 17 Apr. 2011. <http://www.debateitout.com/should-stemcell-research-be- allowed.html>.Liras, Antonio. “Future Research and Therapeutic Applications of Human Stem Cells: General, Regulatory, and bioethical aspects.” Journal of Translational Medicine (2010): p131-145. Print.Muneva, Steven. "Stem Cell Technology: Current Applications and Future Directions." Market Research Reports, Industry Analysis, Newsletters and Conferences. July 2008. Web. 17 Apr. 2011. <http://www.bccresearch.com/report/stem-cell-technology-future-bio035c.html>.OBrien, Nancy Frazier. "Stem-cell Research and the Catholic Church." American Catholic. Web. 17 Apr. 2011. <http://www.americancatholic.org/News/StemCell/default.asp>.PharmacyEscrow.com. "Stem Cell | Online Pharmacy Blog." Canadian Online Pharmacy - Safe, Secure, Prescriptions Guaranteed. 20 Sept. 2010. Web. 17 Apr. 2011. <http://www.pharmacyescrow.com/blog/index.php/tag/stem-cell/>.11 | P a g e
  12. 12. Robertson, John A. “Embryo Stem Cell Research: Ten Years of Controversy.” Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics (2010): p191-203. Print and Academic Search Complete.Robinson, Gail. "Stem Cell Research: Medical Miracle or Moral Morass? (Gotham Gazette, Mar 20, 2006)." Gotham Gazette. 20 Mar. 2006. Web. 17 Apr. 2011. <http://www.gothamgazette.com/article/iotw/20060320/200/1794>."What Are the Potential Uses of Human Stem Cells and the Obstacles That Must Be Overcome before These Potential Uses Will Be Realized? [Stem Cell Information]." NIH Stem Cell Information Home Page. National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, 28 Apr. 2000. Web. 27 Mar. 2011. <http://stemcells.nih.gov/info/basics/basics6.asp>Winickoff, David E. “Bioethics and Stem Cell Banking in California.” Berkeley Technology Law Journal (2006): p1067-1105, 39. Print and EBSCOhost.12 | P a g e

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