Archive for the ‘Embryonic Stem Cells’ Category

Obama Ends Stem Cell Research Ban – CBS News

Embryonic Stem Cells | Posted by admin
Mar 10 2019

March 9, 2009 / 8:10 AM / CBS/AP

Fulfilling a campaign promise, Mr. Obama signed an executive order expected to set in motion increased research that supporters believe could uncover cures for serious ailments from diabetes to paralysis.

Mr. Obama's action, before a packed East Room audience, reverses former President George W. Bush's policy on stem cell research by undoing a 2001 directive that banned federal funding for research into stem lines created after that date.

Mr. Bush limited the use of taxpayer money to only the 21 stem cell lines that had been produced before his decision. He argued he was defending human life because days-old embryos - although typically from fertility clinics and already destined for destruction - are destroyed to create the stem cell lines.

The Obama order reverses that without addressing a separate legislative ban, which precludes any federal money paying for the development of stem cell lines. The legislation, however, does not prevent funds for research on those lines created without federal funding. (Read more about what this Executive Order will do -- and won't do.)

Researchers say the newer lines created with private money during the period of the Bush ban are healthier and better suited to creating treatment for diseases. Embryonic stem cells are master cells that can morph into any cell of the body. Scientists hope to harness them so they can create replacement tissues to treat a variety of diseases - such as new insulin-producing cells for diabetics, cells that could help those with Parkinson's disease or maybe even Alzheimer's, or new nerve connections to restore movement after spinal injury.

Mr. Obama called his decision a "difficult and delicate balance," an understatement of the intense emotions generated on both sides of the long, contentious debate. He said he came down on the side of the "majority of Americans" who support increased federal funding for the research, both because strict oversight would prevent problems and because of the great and lifesaving potential it holds.

CBS News polling on the topic shows that Americans do support medical research using embryonic stem cells. In 2007, the last time CBS News asked the question, sixty-five percent said they approved compared to twenty-five percent who disapproved. The number of those who approved had gone up steadily since the 2004 when fifty percent approved. (Read more about the polling.)

"Rather than furthering discovery, our government has forced what I believe is a false choice between sound science and moral values," Mr. Obama said. "In this case, I believe the two are not inconsistent. As a person of faith, I believe we are called to care for each other and work to ease human suffering. I believe we have been given the capacity and will to pursue this research and the humanity and conscience to do so responsibly." (Read all of Mr. Obama's remarks.)

Mr. Obama warned against overstating the eventual benefits of the research. But he said his administration "will vigorously support scientists who pursue this research," taking a slap at his predecessor in the process.

"I cannot guarantee that we will find the treatments and cures we seek. No president can promise that. But I can promise that we will seek them actively, responsibly, and with the urgency required to make up for lost ground."

It's a matter of competitive advantage globally as well, the president argued.

"When government fails to make these investments, opportunities are missed. Promising avenues go unexplored. Some of our best scientists leave for other countries that will sponsor their work. And those countries may surge ahead of ours in the advances that transform our lives," Mr. Obama said.

Early Show medical contributor Dr. Holly Phillips pointed out that such research was never banned or illegal. "The question that we're addressing today is what role, if any, federal funding should have" in this research.

"Many scientists for the last eight years have been complaining that they're spending more time trying to find funding for their research than actually doing their research. So for them this will really have a profound effect," Phillips said. "Certainly on an international level in medicine we're so excited about this research and the potential for healing that it has. So I think less red tape will have a profound effect."

Of the diseases or conditions that may be most affected by the end of the federal ban, Phillips said, "People are most excited about the neurological illnesses, things like Parkinson's and Alzheimer's. A group in California will start using embryonic stem cells in humans to hopefully cure spinal cell injuries for people who have been paralyzed from the waist down. We're also seeing some hope in treating diabetes, heart disease and even strokes. So really, millions of people could be affected by this research."

"We've got eight years of science to make up for," said Dr. Curt Civin, whose research allowed scientists to isolate stem cells and who now serves as the founding director of the University of Maryland School of Medicine's Center for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine. "Now the silly restrictions are lifted."

Mr. Bush and his supporters said they were defending human life; days-old embryos - typically from fertility-clinic leftovers otherwise destined to be thrown away - are destroyed for the stem cells.

Family Research Council, which advocates for a "Judeo-Christian worldview" and warns against the reproductive cloning of a human being, opposes the use of embryonic stem cells, promoting instead adult stem cells as being superior.

Of Mr. Obama's new order, FRC's Dr. David Prentice told CBS' The Early Show, "In terms of scientific advances I don't think we are going to see anything for this. This is more of an ideological move."

House Republican Leader John Boehner said the president's repeal of the ban, "runs counter to President Obama's promise to be a president for all Americans. For a third time in his young presidency, the president has rolled back important protections for innocent life, further dividing our nation at a time when we need greater unity to tackle the challenges before us." (Read more about Republican reaction to the move.)

The president was insistent that his order would not open the door to human cloning.

"We will develop strict guidelines, which we will rigorously enforce, because we cannot ever tolerate misuse or abuse," Mr. Obama said. "And we will ensure that our government never opens the door to the use of cloning for human reproduction. It is dangerous, profoundly wrong, and has no place in our society, or any society."

Mr. Obama also issued a memo promising to restore "scientific integrity to government decision-making." That policy change was aimed more broadly than the stem cell debate, to reach into areas such as climate change as well.

"Promoting science isn't just about providing resources it is also about protecting free and open inquiry," Mr. Obama said. "It is about letting scientists like those here today do their jobs, free from manipulation or coercion, and listening to what they tell us, even when it's inconvenient especially when it's inconvenient. It is about ensuring that scientific data is never distorted or concealed to serve a political agenda and that we make scientific decisions based on facts, not ideology.

Mr. Obama said the presidential memorandum was the beginning of a process that would ensure that his administration: bases its decision "on the soundest science," appoints scientific advisers based on their credentials and experience, not their politics or ideology, and is "open and honest" about the science behind its decisions.

"We view what happened with stem cell research in the last administration is one manifestation of failure to think carefully about how federal support of science and the use of scientific advice occurs," said Harold Varmus, chairman of the White House's Council of Advisers on Science and Technology.

First published on March 9, 2009 / 8:10 AM

2009 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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Obama Ends Stem Cell Research Ban - CBS News

Types of Stem Cells A Closer Look at Stem Cells

Embryonic Stem Cells | Posted by admin
Jan 26 2019

Tissue-specific stem cells

Tissue-specific stem cells (also referred to assomaticoradultstem cells) are more specialized than embryonic stem cells. Typically, these stem cells can generate different cell types for the specific tissue or organ in which they live.

For example, blood-forming (orhematopoietic) stem cells in the bone marrow can give rise to red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. However, blood-forming stem cells dont generate liver or lung or brain cells, and stem cells in other tissues and organs dont generate red or white blood cells or platelets.

Some tissues and organs within your body contain small caches of tissue-specific stem cells whose job it is to replace cells from that tissue that are lost in normal day-to-day living or in injury, such as those in your skin, blood, and the lining of your gut.

Tissue-specific stem cells can be difficult to find in the human body, and they dont seem to self-renew in culture as easily as embryonic stem cells do. However, study of these cells has increased our general knowledge about normal development, what changes in aging, and what happens with injury and disease.

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Types of Stem Cells A Closer Look at Stem Cells

Embryonic Stem Cell Research – rtlofneo.com

Embryonic Stem Cells | Posted by admin
Dec 19 2018

Embryonic Stem Cell Research

is taking a five day old living human embryo, cutting him or her open and extracting embryonic stem cells from the inside, thus killing a living human embryo.

Most embryonic stem cells are derived from embryos that develop from eggs that have been fertilizedinvitroin a clinicand then donated for research purposes. To obtain embryonic stem cells, the early embryo has to be destroyed. This means destroying a human life.A human embryo is a human being in the embryonic stage, just as an infant is a human being in the infant stage.No medical cures have resulted in working with embryonic stem cells.

Adult stem cells (also referred to as non-embryonic stem cells) are present in adults, children, infants, placentas, umbilical cords, and cadavers. Obtaining stem cells from these sources does not result in certain harm to a human being. In contrast to research on embryonic stem cells,adult stem cell research has already resulted in numerous instances of actual clinical benefit to patients.

Another potential obstacle encountered by researchers engaging in embryonic stem cell research is the possibility that embryonic stem cells would not be immunologically compatible with patients and would therefore be rejected, much like a non-compatible kidney would be rejected. A proposed solution to this problem is to create an embryonic clone of a patient and subsequently destroy the clone in order to harvest his or her stem cells. Cloning for this purpose has been termed therapeutic cloningdespite the fact that the subject of the researchthe cloneis not healed but killed. No one should be free to pursue gain (financial, health-related, or otherwise) through immoral or unethical means such as the taking of innocent life. We must not sacrifice one class of human beings (the embryonic) to benefit another (those suffering from serious illness).

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The Ethics Of Embryonic Stem Cell Research Viewpoint Essay

Embryonic Stem Cells | Posted by admin
Dec 11 2018

Posted at 12.05.2018

Since its breakthrough in 1963, (SC His, 2004) Stem Cell Research has helped the look and developing of cures which had looked like impossible mere generations earlier. Since then, huge progress has been made in finding better and more efficient means of utilizing these stem skin cells, and the huge benefits they offer. However, as with all revolutionary innovations, stem cell research goes on to handle opposition on different fronts, with many thinking it to be something inherently unethical. Such disagreement on the use of individuals embryonic stem cell (hESC) research predicated on religious and honest grounds must turn into a thing of days gone by, since the medicinal cures for diseases and disabilities which range from burns and spinal-cord accidents, to Parkinson's disease and even cancer tumor, make hESC research a miracle therapy that will make current disease something of days gone by.

Stem cells are essentially primitive cells having the ability to become all or almost all of the different types of cells in the body. Stem cells have usually been defined as not fully driven to be any particular type of cell or cells. They could be either "pluripotent" (as is the situation with hESC) where they can become any sort of tissues or "multipotent" (which is what "adult" stem cells are) and have the ability to transform only into certain types of muscle. Stem cells are unique from other cell types because they're simply unspecialized skin cells capable of renewing themselves, sometimes even after long cycles of inactivity, and this 's the reason which makes them so important (Irving).

Scientists been employed by with two kinds of stem skin cells from family pets and humans: embryonic or "pluripotent" stem skin cells and non-embryonic or "adult" stem cells. It really is of significant importance that the leading scientists in the study of mature stem cells present compelling arguments on why we must pursue research on both pluripotent and adult stem cells. Although some stem cells are present in men and women, there might not be a person adult stem cell for every kind of cell in the torso. The main thing to keep in mind is the fact pluripotent and mature stem skin cells also differ in their quality. Pluripotent stem cells have almost miraculous capacity to self-renew and also form numerous cell types, however in contrast the full potential of mature stem cells is uncertain, and a sizable amount of information suggests that they may be more limited. Because of these constraints, it is of extreme importance that research is pursued on both pluripotent and adult stem cells together (Lim).

The features of hESC

There are several different reasons why specific research of real human pluripotent stem skin cells might trigger better treatment, or ideally even cures, of several diseases.

Firstly, pluripotent stem skin cells could help us to understand the complex happenings that occur during normal human development. This research can identify the factors involved in the cellular decision-making process that results in cell field of expertise. For instance why do some skin cells become heart skin cells, while other skin cells become liver cells? A better understanding of the normal functions of skin cells would greatly boost the database of scientific knowledge whose aim would be to find the mistakes in these procedures and finally find ways to repair them (Marshall).

Secondly, and most importantly, real human pluripotent stem cells be capable of generate skin cells and tissue that could be used for "cell transplantation remedies, " These therapies would be targeted at finding ways to cure the diseases and disorders resulting from the dysfunctioning of specific types of cells and muscle. Although donated organs can, and are, sometimes used to replace diseased or destroyed tissue, the pure number of people suffering from the number of the disorders is much larger than the amount of organs or cells available for transplantation. By rousing pluripotent stem skin cells to build up into specialized skin cells and tissue, we have anticipation of finding ways to replace cells and tissue and therefore be able to treat a multitude of diseases, conditions and disabilities. (Van Der Kooy).

Ethical Considerations

Ethics is generally thought as "the rules of conduct accepted in respect to a particular class of individuals actions or a specific group, culture". (Dictionary. com) Ethics, however, cannot be considered as being truly a professional body of knowledge. Ethics is quite simply a conversation about questions. In that dialogue, everyone has a place. Most of us have our own moral intuitions. Relating to embryonic stem cell research, the question that we face is the long standing one of if the end justifies the means? Opponents of hESC research will probably claim that it is wrong to use embryos as a mere methods to our ends somewhat than as ends in themselves. This discussion boasts that since in destroying the embryo we are employing this "life" or "individual" as a means towards various other individual being's end, then it is incorrect to damage this embryo. The simple and understandable response by advocates of hESC research is that the embryo will be destroyed in any case, and the fair move to make is to utilize it to help another individual instead of throwing it away. Why should we avoid the curing of men and women on the basis of religious morality, it is merely not acceptable for the present day times in which we reside in.

A Slippery Slope

The slippery slope objection simply claims that after we start down the road of the creation of life only to eliminate it for other's purposes or benefits, then we won't be able to set restrictions to the risks imposed on our "to life. " It's advocated that since the proponents of hESC research justify early embryo damage and completely overlook the embryo's natural moral status, the end result will be a diminishing of respect for all individuals generally. What follows, because of this objector, is that such justification of the damage of early on embryos will lead to a rationale which could justify harmful tests on other individuals subjects. Although some slippery slope quarrels are valid due to the logical dynamics of the move from one situation to another, the current argument is significantly a far more psychological one when compared to a logical one. It is basically an argument that in taking current activities our thoughts will deteriorate and we will not be able to clearly assess our future decisions which may be wrong. That is an argument which has outlasted its sensible use. Since even the greatest nations on earth have come to understand that hESC research is vital to the continuation of the movement of human being knowledge. The one puzzling factor is the amount of folks who still believe scientific research such as this should be quit based on morality. It is a paradox that must definitely be fixed if we are to progress into an improved tomorrow for population (Lanza, Cibelli).

Future Endeavors

Research on stem skin cells continues to move forward knowledge about the countless unknowns related to the creation of individuals life, and also other organisms. Stem cell research is a remarkable field of research, but much like many expanding domains of scientific study, it increases questions as quickly as it creates new answers. An effective understanding must be produced, signifying the fact that the damage of a given amount of embryos will not alter the continuing future of the whole human race as considerably as some seem to be to predict. The grave evil that we affiliate with the damage of human life-and more broadly with using people as methods to an end- seems to reflects the actual fact that such destruction is either dreadful for the individuals whose lives are damaged or used, unlike their will. Embryos, however, are very different, since their damage does not have any meaning on their behalf or anyone else for example, unless they can be averted from being treated due to ethical restrictions. We must treat embryos in the manner which benefits mankind to its fullest magnitude. This will not entail using them however we see fit, whatever the consequences; but there is absolutely no reasonable reason to forgo the large benefits, and the very helpful discoveries that doctors and scientists expect will follow from intense research on hESCs. There is absolutely no reason why the near future should not commence around.

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The Ethics Of Embryonic Stem Cell Research Viewpoint Essay

Embryonic Stem Cells and Artificial Stem Cells Are …

Embryonic Stem Cells | Posted by admin
Dec 05 2018

Artificial stem cells, or induced pluripotent stem cells, were made from embryonic stem cells, and then turned into the neural cells pictured here. These artificial stem cells showed a differentiation potential equal to that of embryonic stem cells. [Jiho Choi, HSCI]

Comparing embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells can be a little like comparing apples and oranges. Or to put it another way, apples-to-apples comparisons can be hard to arrange because embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells may be genetically distinct. In fact, they usually reflect sex, race, and ancestral differences. So, when embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells behave differently, as they often do, there is no telling if variations come down to basic genetic differences, or if variations are due to the rigors of reprogrammingwhich adult cells must endure to achieve artificial or induced pluripotency, but which embryonic stem cells are spared.

Because apples-to-apples comparisons are so hard to come by, stem cell scientists have never been able to agree whether embryonic stem cells and induced pluripotent stem cells are equivalent. Even after performing hundreds of experiments, stem cell scientists remained divided. Some experiments suggested that the two types of stem cells functioned similarly and could be used interchangeably, and other experiments suggested that they were fundamentally different.

To help resolve the controversy, stem cell scientists based at Harvard Medical School contrived an experiment that was as much of an apples-to-apples comparison as they could manage. They tricked human embryonic stem cells (hESCs) into becoming human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs) by first coaxing hESCs to form skin cells. Then they reprogrammed those skin cells into hiPSCs. Finally, they compared the gene products of the hiPSCs with those of the hESCs.

The results of the comparison would be telling, the scientists reasoned, because the hESCs and the hiPSCs were genetically identical. The comparison, it turned out, indicated that the different types of stem cell could not be distinguished by a consistent gene expression signature and were, in the scientists words, molecularly and functionally equivalent.

Details of the scientists work appeared October 26 in the journal Nature Biotechnology, in an article entitled, A comparison of genetically matched cell lines reveals the equivalence of human iPSCs and ESCs.

Here we use genetically matched hESC and hiPSC lines to assess the contribution of cellular origin (hESC vs. hiPSC), the Sendai virus (SeV) reprogramming method and genetic background to transcriptional and DNA methylation patterns while controlling for cell line clonality and sex, wrote the authors. We find that transcriptional and epigenetic variation originating from genetic background dominates over variation due to cellular origin or SeV infection.

When the scientists examined the gene products from the hESC and hiPSC cells, they found that only about 50 of the 200,000 genes that make up the human genome were expressed differently. Whats more, the differentially expressed genes were transcribed at such low levels that any apparent transcriptional difference between hESC and hiPSC cells may be nothing more than transcriptional noise.

Finally, the researchers assessed the functional properties of their ES and iPS cell lines. The researchers found that the cell lines had equal potentials to differentiate into neural cells and a variety of other specialized cell lineages.

When using these cell lines and assays, and after considering a number of technical and biological variables, we find that ES cells and iPS cells are equivalent, said Konrad Hochedlinger, Ph.D., a principal faculty member at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute and a senior author of the Nature Biotechnology paper. Dr. Hochedlinger added the caveat that not all practical applications can account for the variables, and that the science has not yet advanced to where iPS cells can replace embryonic stem cells in every situation.

Embryonic stem cells are still an important reference point, against which other pluripotent cells are compared, noted Dr. Hochedlinger. Along those lines, this study increases the 'value' of iPS cells.

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Embryonic Stem Cells and Artificial Stem Cells Are ...

Embryonic stem cells | Cells | MCAT | Khan Academy

Embryonic Stem Cells | Posted by admin
Nov 25 2018

An overview of early development of a zygote to an embryo. Embryonic and somatic stem cells. Created by Sal Khan.

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Crucial Differences Between Non-Embryonic and Embryonic Stem …

Embryonic Stem Cells | Posted by admin
Nov 23 2018

July 10, 2009 | by Jan F. Dudt | Topic: Faith & Society Print

We hear a lot about stem cells, which are front-and-center as a major policy debate in America, one that involves science, medicine, ethics, politics, and much more.

What are the issues? Whats at stake? What are embryonic and non-embryonic stem cells? What are the crucial differences and distinctions we need to make as a society and citizenry?

Stem-cell technologies are some of the newest and fastest developing biotechnologies. Typically, along with genetic engineering and cloning, these technologies constitute the kind of 21st century advances that make this the century of Biology.

A stem cell is a type of cell that is nonspecific in its function; in contrast, for instance, to a heart or brain cell, which is functionally specific. There are two major sources of stem cells: embryonic stem cells and non-embryonic stem cells. Embryonic stem cells are obtained from 5- to 12-day old embryos. Although removal of a stem cell from an embryo kills the embryo, the stem cells are valued for their potential to produce any type of cell. That is, they have high plasticity. Conversely, non-embryonic stem cells are found in large quantities in placenta, umbilical cord blood, amniotic fluid, and in essentially all adult organs or tissues, including bone marrow, fat, kidney, liver, pancreases, intestines, breast, lung, etc. Any of these non-embryonic stem cells have ample plasticity and can give rise to nearly any type of cells, including heart, liver, lung, muscle, etc.

Thus, the heart of the stem-cell controversy centers on the aforementioned fact that the extraction of stem cells from 5- to 12-day embryos kills the embryo. But thats not the only issue: In addition, stem cells derived from an embryonic human may, in turn, reject the person who receives them. This situation is called graft-versus-host-disease (GVHD). The problem can be avoided by producing an embryonic clone of the person needing the stem cells. However, the procedure produces an embryo that is indistinguishable from an embryo from a fertilized egg. This embryonic clone would be destroyed during the stem-cell harvesting required by the therapy. This type of cloning is called therapeutic cloning, since the production of a human baby is not the goal. (Reproductive cloning, producing a cloned human baby, has been universally outlawed.)

Another problem is that the embryonic stem cells can unpredictably cause cancer in the treated patient.

On the other hand, newly developed treatments associated with non-embryonic (adult) stem cells are way ahead of any hoped-for treatments associated with embryonic stem cells. Recent non-embryonic stem-cell therapies include treatments for non-healing bone breaks, healing damaged hearts, regenerating damaged muscles, correcting scoliosis, regenerating knee cartilage, treating thalassemia, osteoarthritis, diabetes, lupus, multiple sclerosis, spinal chord and nerve damage. Treatments to heal conditions associated with almost any organ or tissue are in view. These advances cast serious doubt on the need to develop embryonic stem-cell therapies, especially since embryonic technologies are morally objectionable, given that they require the death of the human embryo.

The use of ones own adult stem cells (autologous stem-cell transplant) is a way to avoid the problems of rejection and of killing human embryos. Also, certain types of adult stem cells (mesenchymal cells) can be harvested from anyone and changed in the lab (transdifferentiated) into a desired cell. In both of these stem-cell applications there are no adverse effects to the donor of the adult stem cells. The non-embryonic stem cells are safely harvested, purified from other cells and/or expanded in culture, and introduced into the patient without rejection. In another process, virtually any adult cell can be harvested from ones own body and treated to become cells capable of producing the needed cell type (induced pluripotent stem cells or iPS). These cells can also be cultured in the lab, and reintroduced into the patient. All of these sources of adult stem cells avoid the problem of having to use patented embryonic stem-cell lines that would be less available to the public.

And yet, the reputed plasticity of the embryonic stem cells continues to make the prospects of doing research on human embryos attractive to researchers who are uninhibited by the prospect of killing human embryos.

It is worth pointing out that, in terms of medical applications and treatments, two major facts are usually left out of these discussions: First, non-embryonic stem-cell treatments have been used to treat tens of thousands of patients, and with dramatic benefits. However, embryonic stem cells have not had one clinical trial with humans. Also, it has been clearly demonstrated that non-embryonic stem cells do not produce cancerous tumors in humans. Whether iPS cells share this non-tumorigenic quality is not yet clear. However, iPS cells have all of the medical application value hoped for in embryonic stem cells.

It must be noted that in a field as rapidly moving as stem-cell research, this situation will likely not be current for long. However, the current progress of stem-cell research as of spring 2009 speaks volumes regarding the effectiveness of non-embryonic vs. embryonic stem-cell research. The promises of embryonic stem-cell researchers are wildly overstated. The claims that embryonic stem-cell therapies will be available in five to 10 years rings hollow.

Aside from these scientific considerations, there are moral-religious matters of obvious concerns to Christians:

Christians committed to the sanctity of human life should look with favor on technologies that preserve and/or improve human life. Consequently, non-embryonic stem-cell advances should be embraced when they: 1) respect the consent and preserve the dignity of the stem-cell donors, 2) enhance the health of the stem-cell recipient, and 3) protect human life at every stage of development. Embryonic stem-cell harvesting remains problematic because the procedure destroys the smallest and most helpless members of the human family: embryos.

In truth, embryonic stem-cell use is being trumped by successful and surprising advances in adult and other non-embryonic stem-cell research. These advances protect the dignity of the donor and recipient while recognizing the value of all humans, regardless of their stage of life, from conception through old age. Hence, all frozen human embryos should be given a chance to be born, not given over to researchers to be destroyed for the sake of a research project.

Dr. Jan Dudt is a professor of biology at Grove City College and fellow for medical ethics with The Center for Vision & Values. He teaches as part of colleges required core course Studies in Science, Faith and Technology wherein students, among other things, study all of the major origins theories and are asked to measure them in the light of biblical authority.

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Crucial Differences Between Non-Embryonic and Embryonic Stem ...

14 Key Pros and Cons of Embryonic Stem Cell Research …

Embryonic Stem Cells | Posted by admin
Nov 05 2018

Embryonic stem cells have the promise to be a cure to a myriad of medical conditions and other potential benefits. However, the creation and destruction of embryos is involved in this process. For this reason, not all are supportive of embryonic stem cell research and the controversy surrounding it is still so much in the picture.

These are unspecialized cells found in living things and are able to renew themselves and develop into other cells by means of growth and repair so long as the host is still alive. They can also be manipulated to become tissue or organ specific cells. What are embryonic stem cells?

Basically, these are cells derived from blastocysts which are 3-5 day old embryos. Most of these sources come from unfertilized in vitro eggs and are used in research studies. These eggs are taken with consent from donors and brought to laboratories for scientists to use.

Embryonic stem cells are important because they have several potential uses, from getting information about cell development to creating new drugs for medical disorders such as diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

When an egg is ready for fertilization, it shapes itself to allow for the sperms chromosomes to enter. During this stage, the egg divides into smaller cells and become what is known as blastocyst. This is then harvested and grown on a petri dish and divide to become embryonic cells. This process wherein cells are grown in an artificial environment is known as cell culture. This is used in cell engineering, molecular biology and stem cell.

Although both can become differentiated cell types, cells from embryos are pluripotent. Adult cells have limited capabilities to differentiate into other cell types. Moreover, adult stem cells are not as available as embryonic stem cells, making them hard to culture in laboratories. When it comes to transplantation rejection however, embryonic stem cells are more likely to be rejected as opposed to adult stem cells, according to scientists especially that there have only been few clinical trials done to test the effect of human embryonic stem cells on transplantation.

Despite the potential benefits of embryonic cells, there are also possible setbacks surrounding its applications. Supporters and critics continue their debate on this controversial issue and express their views on different forums. Scientists are also divided based on ethical and moral concerns.

Here is a look at some of the pros and cons of embryonic stem cell research that are worth looking into.

1. They are not to be considered to have life. On the issue whether embryos have moral status, proponents claim that at this point, these embryos should not be considered as persons because they lack physical and psychological properties human beings have because they have not yet been implanted in the uterus. Moreover, even if they have, as in the case of in vitro fertilization, it is not yet certain that they can become human beings, given that success rates are low. Thus, these embryos are not to be regarded as if they were living persons.

2. At the time an embryo is harvested, the central nervous system is still not yet formed. Another point of supporters is the age of the embryo when it is used for stem cell research, which is around 2 weeks. At this stage, an embryo has not yet developed a central nervous system. Also, there is still no concrete evidence it can develop into a fetus. Since this is the case, embryos are not yet capable to feel anything since they dont have senses. Supporters maintain that if organs from brain dead people are allowed to be donated, this should also be the same with embryos.

3. Human embryos for stem cell research can help a number of patients. With the potential of embryonic stem cells to be used as treatment to several medical disorders such as heart diseases, Parkinsons disease and diabetes, destroying them is not actually doing them harm. For advocates, there is nothing wrong with the process because it results to helping hundreds of patients whose lives are in danger.

4. They come from unused embryos for in vitro fertilization and are not taken without consent. Advocates for embryonic stem cell research say that there is nothing unethical or morally wrong with using the fertilized eggs which were not chosen for in vitro. They also posit that these eggs will be discarded anyway and it would be better that they be used for the common good and benefit of the majority. Also, they reiterate that these embryos are given with consent from donors.

5. They can be used by scientists to find cure for several medical conditions. Another claim of proponents about the importance of embryonic stem cell research is the application of such cells to treat ailments like cardiovascular diseases, spinal cord injury, Alzheimers and Parkinsons as well vision impairment and diabetes.

6. They can be possibly used for organ transplantation. Since embryonic cells have the capability to divide into specific cells and are always available, they are good candidates for organ transplantation application as opposed to adult cells. Even if adult cells can be used to repair tissues and for organ transplantation, they are only few viable cells in adults capable of doing such.

7. Embryonic stem cell therapy is the next best thing to happen after the discovery of antibiotics. Scientists who support the use of embryonic stem cells to treat numerous diseases say that for so many years, patients suffer and die from different ailments. With stem cell research, including this one, hundreds if not thousands of patients lives are prolonged, making this medical science breakthrough a great discovery since antibiotics.

8. Embryonic cells can be used for further research by scientists. Advocates also say that discarded cells can be used by researchers to study more about cell properties, structure and growth. This way, they will understand better how cells function and will be able to apply these researches in finding other ways to cure diseases in the future.

1. Human embryos deserve respect as any other human being does. Opponents of embryonic stem cell research argue that these embryos, regardless of their properties or the lack thereof, should be considered and treated with the same respect just like any other person. They add that these embryos have the possibility to develop into fetuses and human beings. Thus, they also have life.

2. There is no evidence that embryos have lives or not so they should not be destroyed. With the issue whether embryos already have a status of life, critics of embryonic stem cell research say that there is no concrete evidence. An example used is that of a patient who is comatose. Just because he or she is not responding from stimulation is not a proof that there is no life. Critics say that the same logic should be applied in embryos. And since it is unsure that life exists in an embryo or not, no one should destroy an embryo without any concern or consideration.

3. Embryonic stem cell research takes away the chance of an embryo to become a human being. On the argument that an embryo is just like any part of the human body, an organic material and not a person, opponents say that embryos are in a stage that they have the possibility to develop into human beings. Since this is the case, using them for research is taking away this possibility and therefore, it is something unethical.

4. The use of embryonic stem cells had not yet been proven to be successful. Groups against this research contend that there have been very few success stories of embryonic stem cells to cure diseases. In fact, there have been reports of difficulty of these cells to new specific types as well as tumor formation. There is also the concern of organ transplantation rejection of recipients that critics believe to be reason enough to stop stem cell research.

5. Taxpayers money is used to fund researches like this. Another issue that stirs the minds of opponents is that the Federal government fund researches like these at the expense of the American people. Despite some scientists who appealed against this, the government has already spent $500 million in human embryonic stem cell research, according to reports. Despite the passing of legislation in 1996, prohibiting the use of taxpayers money for stem cell research, there are still private groups who were funding researches as well. Groups who are against this, however, continue to fight for the cause.

6. There are alternative ways to culture cells. Aside from embryos being used in stem cell research, adult cells can also be used as well as non-embryonic cells. Opponents posit that scientists should turn to these alternatives to save lives and look for remedies instead of the destruction of embryos. Scientists are already conducting studies on creating induced pluripotent stem cells and attempting to have human skin cells to go back to the embryonic state. With these developments, scientists should consider these options, according to critics.

In the middle of the controversial issue about using human embryos for stem cell research, groups remain divided. However, with new developments and options, perhaps, a time will come scientists can let go of using human embryos. If this happens, supporters are most likely to concede. After all, their concern is not on embryo destruction but on finding treatments for medical disorders.

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14 Key Pros and Cons of Embryonic Stem Cell Research ...

Reprogrammed stem cells identical to embryonic stem cells

Embryonic Stem Cells | Posted by admin
Sep 29 2018

Click on photo (at left) to enlarge Photo:iPS cells feature reprogrammed stem cells: Credit: Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology

Russian researchers have concluded that reprogramming does not create differences between reprogrammed and embryonic stem cells.

Stem cells are specialized,undifferentiated cellsthat can divide and have the remarkable potential to develop into many different cell types in the body during early life and growth. They serve as a sort of internal repair system in many tissues, dividing essentially without limit to replenish other cells. When a stem cell divides, each new cell has the potential either to remain a stem cell or become another more specialized cell type, such as a muscle cell, a red blood cell, or a brain cell. Scientists

distinguish several types ofstem cellspluripotent stem cells can potentially produce any cell in the body. No pluripotent stem cells exist in an adult body, rather they are found naturally in early embryos.

There are two ways to harvest pluripotent stem cells. The first is to extract them from the excess embryos produced duringinvitro fertilization procedures, although this practice is still ethically and technically controversial because it does destroy an embryo that could have been implanted. For this reason, researchers came up with the second way to get pluripotent stem cells reprogramming adult cells.

Reprogramming, the process of turning on genes that are active in a stem cell and turning off genes that are responsible for cell specialization was pioneered by Shinya Yamanaka, who showed that the introduction of four specific proteins essential during early embryonic development could be used to convert adult cells intopluripotent cells. Yamanaka was awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize along with Sir John Gurdon for the discovery that mature stem cells can be reprogrammed to become pluripotent.

Production of iPS cells: Isolate cells from patient; grow in a dish Treat cells with reprogramming Wait a few weeks Pluripotent stem cells Change culture conditions to stimulate cells to differentiate into a variety of cell types blood cells | gut cells | cardio muscle cells Credit: Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology

Thanks to their unique regenerative abilities, stem cells offer potential for treating any disease. For example, there have been cases of transplanting retinal pigment epithelium and spine cells from stem cells. Another experiment showed that stem cells were able to regenerate teeth in mice. Reprogramming holds great potential for new medical applications, since reprogrammed pluripotent stem cells (or induced pluripotent stem cells) can be made from a patients own cells instead of using pluripotent cells from embryos.

However, the extent of the similarity between induced pluripotent stem cells and humanembryonic stem cellsremains unclear. Recent studies highlighted significant differences between these two types of stem cells, although only a limited number of cell lines of different origins were analyzed.

Researchers compared induced pluripotent stem cell (iPSC) lines reprogrammed from adult cell types that were previously differentiated from embryonic stem cells. All these cells were isogenic, meaning they all had the same gene set.

Scientists analyzed the transcriptome the set of all products encoded, synthesized and used in a cell. Moreover, they elicited methylated DNA areas, because methylation plays a critical role in cell specialization. Comprehensive studies of changes in the gene activity regulation mechanism showed similarities between reprogrammed and embryonic stem cells. In addition, researchers produced a list of the activity of 275 key genes that can present reprogramming results.

Researchers studied three types of adult cells fibroblasts, retinal pigment epithelium andneural cells, all of which consist of the same gene set; but a chemical modification (e.g. methylation) combined with other changes determines which part of DNA will be used for product synthesis.

Scientists concluded that the type of adult cells that were reprogrammed and the process of reprogramming did not leave any marks. Differences between cells that did occur were thought to be the result of random factors.

We defined the best induced pluripotent stem cells line concept, says Dmitry Ischenko, MIPT Ph.D. and Institute of Physical Chemical Medicine researcher.

The minimum number of iPSC clones that would be enough for at least one to be similar to embryonic pluripotent cells with 95 percent confidence is five.

Clearly, no one is going to convert embryonic stem cells into neurons and reprogram them into induced stem cells. Such a process would be too time-consuming and expensive. This experiment simulated the reprogramming of a patientsadult cellsinto inducedpluripotent stem cellsfor further medical use, and even though the reprogramming paper, published in the journal Cell Cycle, does not currently propose a method of organ growth in vitro, it is an important step in the right direction. Both induced pluripotent cells and embryonic stem cells can help researchers understand how specialized cells develop from pluripotent cells. In the future, they may also provide an unlimited supply of replacement cells and tissues that can benefit many patients with diseases that are currently untreatable.

The study, titled, An integrative analysis of reprogramming in human isogenic system identified a clone selection criterion, concluded that reprogramming does not create differences between reprogrammed and embryonic stem cells, involved researchers from the Vavilov Institute of General Genetics, Research Institute of Physical Chemical Medicine, and the Moscow Institute of Physics and Technology (MIPT).

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Reprogrammed stem cells identical to embryonic stem cells

Human Embryonic Stem Cells in Development, Volume 129 …

Embryonic Stem Cells | Posted by admin
Sep 29 2018

Dr. Brivanlou received his doctoral degree in 1990 from the University of California, Berkeley. He joined Rockefeller in 1994 as assistant professor after postdoctoral work in Douglas Meltons lab at Harvard University. Among his many awards are the Irma T. Hirschl/ Monique Weill-Caulier Trusts Career Scientist Award, the Searle Scholar Award, the James A. Shannon Directors Award from the NIH and the Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers. The Brivanlou laboratory has demonstrated that the TGF- pathway plays a central role in inductive interactions leading to the establishment of different neural fates, which begins by the specification of the brain. In studies of frog embryos, Dr. Brivanlou has made several influential discoveries, including the finding that all embryonic cells will develop into nerve cells unless they receive signals directing them toward another fate. A concept, coined the default model of neural induction, postulates that neural fate determination requires the inhibition of an inhibitory signal. His laboratory has contributed to the molecular and biochemical understanding of the TGF- signaling pathway and cross talk with other signaling networks, using comparative studies of frog and mouse embryos and mammalian cell culture. To address whether the default model of neural induction is conserved from amphibians to mammals (and humans in particular), Dr. Brivanlous laboratory was among the first to work directly in hESCs. Dr. Brivanlou and colleagues derived several hESC lines, called RUES1, 2 and 3 (Rockefeller University Embryonic Stem Cell Lines 1, 2 and 3). The RUES lines were among the first 13 hESC lines approved for use in research funded by the National Institutes of Health (NIH), under the NIH Guidelines for Human Stem Cell Research adopted in July 2009 under the Obama administration. Their current work focuses on the molecular dissection of the defining properties of ESCs their capacity for self-renewal and their ability to differentiate into a range of cell types. Dr. Brivanlous overall goal is to use hESCs to study early human embryonic development. Several collaborations with Rockefeller University physics laboratories have provided new insight, from the use of quantum dots for in vivo embryonic imaging (with Albert J. Libchaber) to development of new statistical tools for DNA microarray and high throughput proteomic analysis. Ongoing collaboration with Rockefellers Eric D. Siggia focuses on using a high throughput microfluidic platform to program hESC differentiation toward specific fates by dynamic changes of the signaling landscape and without compromising genetic integrity. Thus, the first steps of stem cell differentiation are being scrutinized using new high-resolution techniques drawn from physics. This data will be organized and developed into a predictive tool to rationally reprogram specialized fates from hESCs.

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Human Embryonic Stem Cells in Development, Volume 129 ...