Stem Cell Assays – Reproducible Research on Stem Cells
Thesis Statement On Stem Cell Research
Most HESCs are derived from embryos that were created for infertilitytreatment but that were in excess of what the infertile individual(s)ultimately needed to achieve a pregnancy. The HESCs derived from theseleftover embryos offer investigators a powerful tool for understandingthe mechanisms controlling cell differentiation. However, there arescientific and therapeutic reasons not to rely entirely on leftoverembryos. From a research standpoint, creating embryos through cloningtechnologies with cells that are known to have particular geneticmutations would allow researchers to study the underpinnings ofgenetic diseases in vitro. From a therapeutic standpoint, theHESCs obtained from leftover IVF embryos are not genetically diverseenough to address the problem of immune rejection by recipients ofstem cell transplants. (Induced pluripotent stem cells may ultimatelyprove sufficient for these research and therapeutic ends, since thecells can (a) be selected for specific genetic mutations and (b)provide an exact genetic match for stem cell recipients.) At present,the best way to address the therapeutic problem is through thecreation of a public stem cell bank that represents a geneticallydiverse pool of stem cell lines (Faden et al. 2003, Lott &Savulescu 2007). This kind of stem cell bank would require thecreation of embryos from gamete donors who share the same HLA-types(i.e., similar versions of the genes that mediate immune recognitionand rejection).
Stem Cell Research Thesis Statement
Each of these enterprises has its own set of ethical issues. In thecase of research cloning, some raise concerns, for example, that theperfection of cloning techniques for research purposes will enable thepursuit of reproductive cloning, and that efforts to obtain thethousands of eggs required for the production of cloned embryos willresult in the exploitation of women who provide the eggs (President'sCouncil on Bioethics 2002, Norsigian 2005). With respect to stem cellbanks, it is not practically possible to create a bank of HESCs thatwill provide a close immunological match for all recipients. Thisgives rise to the challenge of determining who will have biologicalaccess to stem cell therapies. We might construct the bank so that itprovides matches for the greatest number of people in the population,gives everyone an equal chance of finding a match, or ensures that allancestral/ethnic groups are fairly represented in the bank (Fadenet al. 2003, Bok, Schill, & Faden 2004, Greene 2006).