In this century, the advance in knowledge has led to the increase in curing of many ailments. One of these breakthroughs is the advent of stem cell research.
This technology has raised the expectation of many medical professionals in treating people who have endured suffering or died prematurely because their diseases were regarded to be “incurable” some years ago. Stem cells are capable of growing until they form mature specialized body cells. They are found in embryos at the initial developmental stages in fetal tissues and sometimes in some mature tissues.
Doctors and scientists have proved that by the use of stem cell technology, it is possible for organisms to grow from a single cell. In addition, they have also discovered that cells that are in good physical condition are capable of restoring damaged cells in mature organisms. Nevertheless, the lack of adequate funding from the government has deteriorated the efforts of the researchers in embracing the benefits of this technology.
Since the first isolation of embryonic stem cells occurred during the last decade, stem cell technology has emerged to be a major advancement in the field of science.
Nonetheless, the breakthrough is a major public debate topic concerning its use in treating patients with “incurable” ailments (Korobkin and Munzer, 3). Throughout this period, the United States government has approved what is considered as the worst restraining policy in scientific investigation in modern times: it has refused to provide financial assistance to embryonic stem-cell research.
Some government officials hold the belief that the people encouraging this type of research are becoming deceitful in making known to the public this hope in medical science and affirm that adequate proof for the sustainability of this technology is still lacking. However, such sentiments are in themselves deceitful since people, who do not meet the criteria, make such ill-conceived statements.
The public does not have adequate information on this. For example, a recent public poll, conducted by the International Communications Research in Media, Pa, revealed that “47 percent of Americans oppose federal funding of embryonic stem-cell research, while 38 percent support such funding. Only 21 percent favored funding all stem-cell research, including research that involves killing embryos” (Catholic News Service, para. 1).
However, it is important to note that on scientific issues, the so-called “opinion polls” are less significant. In such cases, the public normally vote based on their tastes and preferences while disregarding the real impact of the issue.
Doctors and scientists, who are the authority in this field, have asserted several times that the implementation of stem cell research would bring many benefits to humanity, especially those who are suffering from diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, spinal cord injury, certain forms of cancer, or even ailments of the heart. So, who should make for us decisions in this critical issue, is it the ill-advised public or the scientists?
Some people who are opposed to this technology claim that the introduction of stem cell research in medical laboratories can result in the annihilation of human life. The religious community maintains that the life of a human being commences at conception; therefore, they oppose the use of such embryos in research.
However, it is of essence to note that the embryos used in stem cell research are mostly the left over ones kept in fertility clinics that eventually would be discarded if they were not used for the intended purposes. Those against the research assert that embryonic life is holy and necessary for the persistence of lives in this planet. Therefore, they are faithfully not willing to give up embryonic life, regardless of the numerous advantages it would bring to the medical field.
Or, should we let our loved ones to die of “incurable” aliments like the ones mentioned above simply because stem cell research is unnatural? Investigation into this field of study should be encouraged by providing more funds to assist the investigators. In addition, who knows, may be one day we will wake up and find ourselves living in a disease-free world thanks to the funding accorded to these investigators who work relentlessly to this end.
In conclusion, it is evident that the implementation of stem cell research can bring several benefits to the human race. The world is seriously in need of the treatment of medical conditions that has troubled it for a long time now.
However, the current political temperature and lack of adequate government funding is a major obstacle towards the realization of this dream. By looking at the whole picture, this technology should be adopted as long as some restrictions are placed upon it to prevent scientists from misusing the breakthrough.
This research is thought to be the most promising in curing ailments and the lack of funding continues to derail the activities of the scientists. To this end, we should continue to raise our voices and make sure that this great medical research breakthrough succeeds and saves thousands of lives from early graves.
Catholic News Service. “Poll shows opposition to federally funded embryonic stem-cell research.” The Boston Pilot.com. 24 Sept. 2010. Web. 16 Oct. 2010. http://www.thebostonpilot.com/article.asp?ID=12402
Korobkin, Russell, and Stephen, Munzer. Stem cell century: law and policy for a breakthrough technology. New Haven: Yale University Press, 2007. Print.