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Old 01-08-2009
 
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Default The Future of Stem Cells

I won't claim to be a biologist or very knowledgeable about stem cells, but I do know that embryonic stem cells result in the loss of a human embryo. I'm curious as to whether anyone knows more about stem cells, like the alternative types and what sorts of consequences this type of research could potentially have on humanity in the future.

I'd like to understand the point of views of both sides of this controversial issue. For example, would pro-life, religious conservatives be okay with stem cell research if they didn't result in the death of a human embryo? Do proponents of stem cell research downplay the death of an unborn baby by pointing out the potential for treating and curing disease?

Specifically, what sorts of maladies could stem cells really help with? Like cancer for example: if you had cancerous cells in your liver, would injecting stem cells into your liver cause the cancerous cells to somehow go away? If you have HIV, would stem cells be able to boost your immune system? For degenerative diseases, would stem cells boost brain function in certain areas that are effected? What if you lost a finger? Could stem cells be used to regrow a lost limb and retain its functionality?

Most importantly, doesn't this fundamentally change how humanity might perceive itself? This is not just a pill or surgery... this is actively growing various cells out of discarded, unborn people. Does the end justify the means in this case? Where do you think this sort of research will end up? I think it's a fascinating topic, so I appreciate your input, and I look forward to your responses.

Hydragoon

P.S. Like I said, I'm no expert, so feel free to correct me if I'm wrong on any of the above. I'm willing to edit the OP if I said something grossly inaccurate.
 

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Old 01-08-2009
 
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Everything I hear indicates that the more we know, the more we come to realize that we can get stem cells without sacrificing embryos. So I think the controversy is perhaps not long for this world.
 
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Old 01-08-2009
 
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It seems to me that there is nothing wrong with using embryos that were going to be destroyed otherwise. Why completely waste it?
 

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Old 01-08-2009
 
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Everything I hear indicates that the more we know, the more we come to realize that we can get stem cells without sacrificing embryos.
Yes, but they're much less versatile and they still have all the senescence/telomere shortening from previous cell divisions.

Using embryonic stem cells from embryos like the kind that are discarded en masse every year from fertility clinics gets around that issue.
 
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Old 01-08-2009
 
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I think we should be mass producing billions of embryos and harvesting stem cells en masse.
 
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Old 01-09-2009
 
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The best stem cells should be used, regardless of their origin.

The frank fact is that religious whackos with ethical problems in regard to the use of embryos are in fact religious whackos. They will attack a single mother for aborting an embryo while entirely ignoring the fact that billions are "disposed of" in fertility clinics. It's a quiet lie for our own good, I'm sure.
 
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Old 01-09-2009
 
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Originally Posted by GenocideAlive View Post
The best stem cells should be used, regardless of their origin.

The frank fact is that religious whackos with ethical problems in regard to the use of embryos are in fact religious whackos. They will attack a single mother for aborting an embryo while entirely ignoring the fact that billions are "disposed of" in fertility clinics. It's a quiet lie for our own good, I'm sure.
This.

I have a personal problem with abortion (sometimes it's a necessary evil, but it's a sticky situation regardless, and it's none of my business in the first place), but if the petri-dish embryos are just going to be tossed out, might as well get some good from them.
 
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Old 01-09-2009
 
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For most, isn't the objection to creating embryos in a petri dish for the purpose of using them to harvest cells? Creating a human life and then taking deliberate, premeditated action to prevent that life from reaching fruition is pretty depraved. It is essentially the same as if a woman deliberately got pregnant with the premeditated intention to have the child aborted.
 
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Old 01-09-2009
 
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For most, isn't the objection to creating embryos in a petri dish for the purpose of using them to harvest cells? Creating a human life and then taking deliberate, premeditated action to prevent that life from reaching fruition is pretty depraved.
Except that's not what the embryos were originally created for.

/which of course has it's own realm of ethical qualms
 
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Old 01-09-2009
 
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Yes I'm aware. Most people I've heard who argue against embryonic stem cells are objecting to the fear that this would occur.
 
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Old 01-09-2009
 
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Yes I'm aware. Most people I've heard who argue against embryonic stem cells are objecting to the fear that this would occur.
Perhaps, with more research, scientists can create artificial stem cells and bypass the whole embryo thing?
 
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Old 01-09-2009
 
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They can currently get embryonic stem cells without destroying embryos. According to DM those aren't as effective as the ones that require embryonic destruction. I wouldn't know.

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Researchers at Advanced Cell Technology, led by Robert Lanza, reported the successful derivation of a stem cell line using a process similar to preimplantation genetic diagnosis, in which a single blastomere is extracted from a blastocyst.[5] At the 2007 meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) [6], Lanza announced that his team had succeeded in producing three new stem cell lines without destroying the parent embryos. "These are the first human embryonic cell lines in existence that didn't result from the destruction of an embryo." Lanza is currently in discussions with the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to determine whether the new technique sidesteps U.S. restrictions on federal funding for ES cell research
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stem_ce...native_sources
 
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Old 01-09-2009
 
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They can currently get embryonic stem cells without destroying embryos. According to DM those aren't as effective as the ones that require embryonic destruction. I wouldn't know.



http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Stem_ce...native_sources
Hmm, never heard about that. If we can get embryonic stem cells without destroying the embryo, there should be no ethical qualms, n'est pas?
 
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Old 01-09-2009
 
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Presumably.
 
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Old 01-09-2009
 
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Wait, what happens to the embryo in that procedure? Is it allowed to develop into a fetus and born?
 
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