Why are we not funding this?
When it comes to the controversy surrounding embryonic stem cells I always tend to lean more towards the pro use of stem cells. But I could see how people could dispute the use of embryonic stem cells, they think about the embryo as a potential child that is unjustly being used for scientific research with out the potential child’s consent. That used to make sense to me, even though in that sense I still think that the medical benefits and the potential to treat diseases out way the moral issues by tenfold. After doing more research onto the topic of embryonic stem cells, I found some interesting information that people who are against stem cell research probably do not know, but should. Through my research I have learned that it is possible to obtain stem cells without having to destroy the embryo itself. The controversy about embryonic stem cells is caused by the idea that if we use embryonic stem cells we would be destroying an embryo, which would be like murdering a fetus. However, this is not the case anymore, due to medical advancements researchers are now able to obtain the stem cells without harming the embryo.
An embryo consists of about eight to ten cells during the early developing stage. Because researchers need a big enough sample of the embryo to collect a useful about of embryonic stem cells, the embryo would be destroyed. The embryo itself already contains such a small amount of cells, removing a large portion of embryo would not allow the embryo to survive. This is not an obstacle that researcher have to face anymore when using embryonic stem cells, thanks to Robert Lanza, who is a medical director of the biotechnology firm Advanced Cell Technology in Worchester, Massachusetts. Through his work he was able to discover that it was possible to remove a single stem cell from an embryo and then manipulate that one cell in a lab to create a large enough colony of embryonic stem cells that would satisfy the size requirement the researchers need to preform experiments on.
We already knew that we were able to take a single cell from an embryo without destroying it, this method is commonly used to test for genetic deformities that the embryo might have before it is placed into the receiving uterus. However, Lanza and other researchers were able to figure out that obtaining this one stem cell was enough to create a synthetic colony. The colony of stem cells they were able to produce from the one embryonic stem cell they obtained functions exactly the same as regular stem cells would. Not only does the extraction of a single stem cell from the embryo does not result in the harm or destruction of the embryo, but the embryos were also able to go on to become healthy fetuses. Although this method of obtaining embryonic stem cells is not heavily looked into, and requires a lot more testing and research to make sure that the process is reliable and secure, it seems like a promising technique. Just because this system of obtaining embryonic stem cells needs to be studied more does not mean that it is not effective, it just means that its under researched. Lanza first started his experiment extracting from rat embryos and creating a multitude of stem cells from the single stem cell he collected. After finding success with the rat embryos, he preformed this experiment on sixteen human embryos, from these sixteen embryos, since it was in the testing phase, they took out a total of 91. Which resulted in the creation of two stable stem cell lines. Though there is little research done on creating more embryonic stem cells from a single cell the experiments that have been done turned out successful.
The fact that there isn’t more research on this method of obtaining embryonic stem cells blows my mind. As I was researching this subject, all the articles I found only talked about the research and result that was preformed by Robert Lanza and his researchers. Currently in the U.S it is illegal for the use of federal funds to go towards research that involve the usage of embryonic stem cells, making embryonic stem cell research difficult to conduct. Which might be the reason that we do not have more information about creating more embryonic stem cells from a single cell. It is important the people know that it is possible for researchers to collect embryonic stem cells without having to kill the embryo. If the public continues to stay in the dark about the abilities of obtaining embryonic stem cells, then it will hinder the progress of stem cell research.