Human stem cell research: all viewpoints – Religious Tolerance

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Stem cells are a special form of human life: they are alive and contain human DNA. They have a unique feature in that they can be coaxed into developing into some or all of the 220 cell types found in the human body. Eventually, stem cells may be routinely used by doctors to generate new organs or new replacement body parts for people: They might become a new pancreas to cure a person with diabetes, or new nerve cells to cure a paralized person, etc.

There are three types of stem cells:

The National Institutes of Health web site states:

"To realize the promise of novel cell-based therapies for such pervasive and debilitating diseases, scientists must be able to manipulate stem cells so that they possess the necessary characteristics for successful differentiation, transplantation, and engraftment. The following is a list of steps in successful cell-based treatments that scientists will have to learn to control to bring such treatments to the clinic. To be useful for transplant purposes, stem cells must be reproducibly made to:

Also, to avoid the problem of immune rejection, scientists are experimenting with different research strategies to generate tissues that will not be rejected.

To summarize, stem cells offer exciting promise for future therapies, but significant technical hurdles remain that will only be overcome through years of intensive research."

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Human stem cell research: all viewpoints - Religious Tolerance

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