6 Advantages and Disadvantages of Stem Cell Research

Stem cell research, a contentious topic, is again in the news these days but mostly, on a positive note. Researchers reported that they have discovered a way to create human stem cells using only chromosomes. In another news, Olympic swimmer Jason Lesak expressed support in the funding of a new kind of stem cell therapy. Despite the good news, there are still setbacks attributed to stem cell research. Here are the different pros and cons of this scientific research.

List of Advantages of Stem Cell Research

1. This research can lead to the cure of human diseases.
One of the advantages of using stem cell therapy and research is the possible discovery of cure to certain diseases inflicting humans. Medical experts say that this can be the answer for the treatment of medical disorders like burns, rheumatoid arthritis and spinal cord injury. In fact, it was recently reported that a mice which was prone to osteoporosis was injected with stem cell and after six months, the bones were healthier and the disease gone.

2. Scientists will be able to learn more about how human cells work.
Stem cell research makes it possible for scientists to learn more about cell properties as well as cell differentiation from specialized types. These cells are used by pharmaceuticals in their clinical trials to manufacture new drugs. Moreover, stem cells help in determining the triggers of birth defects in newborns. Conversely, research on stem cells plays a significant role on broadening scientific knowledge in the regeneration of adult cells.

3. It leads to the possibility of stem cells being used in cell-based therapies.
Stem cells have the capability to replicate and regenerate. They are also undifferentiated. These characteristics of stem cells make them useful in organ transplants. According to experts, cells have the potential to form specialized cell types such as brain cells and liver.

List of Disadvantages of Stem Cell Research

1. It is expensive.
The National Institutes of Health funds stem cell research along with other health-related research projects. Despite the good intentions behind scientific research, there is no denying that this costs millions if not billions of dollars which could have been used for other government projects that can directly help improve the lives of average Americans.

2. It is unethical.
In embryonic stem cell research, embryos are taken from eggs that have been fertilized in in vitro and were not used or were rejected. These embryos are then donated for the research. People from religious groups, concerned citizens and pro-life groups believe that there is an ethical with the process and that these embryos are human beings.

3. There is no assurance these cells will be compatible with patient cells.
There have been reports where patients have rejected organ transplants and eventually succumbed to their diseases. Also, some studies have shown that patients who were treated with stem cell therapy ended up with narrowing arteries. With no clear evidence that this type of therapy can be successful all the time, it can be risky.

Stem cell research may be promising and has potential to the cure of many diseases. However, it can also be expensive and there are risks as well as ethical issues involved. People behind this research should weigh the pros and cons to decide which is best for the country and the world.