Stem cell research: Friend or foe?

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By The Staff

Cells, science, ethics, medicine, and morals: just some of the words that describe the world of stem cell research. To the average American, this is just some educated mumbo-jumbo that is hardly worth following. The Bush Administration cooled the flames of stem cell research in early 2001, by limiting the amount of taxpayer dollars that could be spent on the research. 

The fire has recently been rekindled by now President Obama, who will be signing a bill to allow government funding to stem cell research and transferring the reins from the National Institutes of Health to the Office of Science and Technology Policy. 


Now that we have the general concept in all its technical glory, what does it mean in simple folk talk?


Basically, the general idea of stem cell research is the taking of primitive human cells and developing them into other human cells. It is believed by scientists that this will uncover the cures for some of the more serious diseases in the nation. 


It sounds like a brilliant idea, right? To some people, it is considered wrong and immoral. The stem cells are generally taken from embryos or adult tissue, with embryonic cells being the most valuable. The major conflict is whether these embryos are considered to be actual human life. The embryos are the leftovers of IVF treatments, with many of them being discarded. 


We don’t really have an excuse to say that we are taking a human life, because they technically are not even given the opportunity to live. Rather than discard something so precious such as a human life, why not use it to benefit another human life? 


As a big sister to a little boy with Type 1 diabetes, stem cell research could be the answer to his prayers. I would rather have my little brother live a long, healthy life not burdened with diabetes. You can throw all of the negative comments you want my way, but what will you be saying 20, 30, or even 50 years from now when you are suffering from diseases such as Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, or even heart disease? Stem cell research believes that they can crack the code to curing these diseases, so why not give them the chance to learn? 


We as young children were given the chance to learn from our mistakes. So why can’t scientists have the chance to learn from the mistakes of our own genetics and create something good from it? 


It is not rocket science, believe it or not. We question morals on a daily basis; we reject ideas that seem to go against ours until those ideas become the only option we have. 


As President Obama said, “We’ve got eight years of science to make up for,” so it is better to start now than later. 


We are propelling at an exponential rate in the medical world, there is no reason to come to a screeching halt now. These terms that make no sense to us now, could be the terms we tell in future textbooks as some of the greatest achievements to happen to mankind. 


I would like for those words to be, I would like to believe that the people who could benefit from this would like for those words to be, and I would like to think that people in general would like to care for the well being of the world that we will continue to live in until the end of time.