Stem Cell Research Funding Controversy


StemCell Research Funding Controversy

StemCell Research Funding Controversy

In1868, a biologist and a researcher Ernst Haeckel acknowledged thatstem cells are the ancestors of all other animals’ cells since theygrew into different types of cells found in organs such as eyes,limbs, brain and bones (Murnaghan, 2016). The most recent and ongoingdevelopment in this study is insights that diseases such as leukemiaand cancer can be solved through intensive research on the potentialof using stem cells to develop drugs or organs transplants.Evidently, another modern researcher George Daley and his teamdeveloped a report on the creation of embryonic stem cells matching aparticular donor with medical complications. These developments inresearch, however, have stirred a series of ethical concerns, leadingto moral and ethical questions based on the fear of the unknown(Robertson, 2010). Nonetheless,when the research findings conclude that the benefits of stem cellresearch outweigh the risks, further studies and development of cureor treatment would mean the end of human pain and suffering.

ArgumentsSupporting Stem Cell Research Funding

Individualsand organizations supporting stem cell research argue that it canyield an ultimate understanding of the diseases, medical or geneticconditions, and treatments. Evidently, two Canadian researchersDominique Bonnet and John Dick in 1997 discovered that the cells thatdeveloped from leukemia originate from stem cells (Navellier, 2015).George Daley developed an extension of this discovery in 2003 when hedeveloped ways to convert stem cells derived from a rodent into agerm cell (Murnaghan, 2016 Robertson, 2010). In his study, heconcluded germ cells opens the opportunity to understand cancer, itsgrowth, and development, which can yield its cure and treatment. Inrealization of these and other possibilities of treating cancer,organizations such as National Stem Cell Foundation and InternationalSociety for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) have invested dearly while atthe same time enlighten the people on the potential of the research.

Supportersfor stem cell research funding hold that it is wrong to subject theembryos as human beings. In support for this, there argue thatembryos requires placenta to develop into a fetus, and even when theyhave all required biological resources, there are spare embryos thatusually act as a backup in case the primary fails (Navellier, 2015).In this case, these spare embryos are not special than those in thetesting. Besides, those in under investigation may lead to newbreakthrough unlike those that disposed of after death. On June 25,2016, the ISSCR President Sean Morrison, pointed out that studyingthe test embryos is important for the modern medical families sinceit leads to understanding pluripotency and the ways the achievedknowledge leveraged towards the development of tools that enhancesunderstanding and the treatment of disease (Rebecca, 2013). Hecriticized the commonly held misconception that the research isunethical or immoral. Also, Dr. Dan S. Kaufman, from University ofMinnesota Stem Cell Institute in 2013 made it clear that embryoniccells used in research are derived from fertilized zygotes that wouldusually are destroyed (Rebecca, 2013 Murnaghan, 2016). On the samenote, the blastocyst from these cells are barely a month old but meregroups of cells that do not make a human being. In this case, stemcell research does not violate human right to life as the opponentsasserts.

Argumentsagainst the funding.

Theopposing group constituting of scientists, religion groups, andanti-abortion organizations argues that the practices degraded humanlife. For instance, Dr. Jim Ekman of Nebraska Coalition for EthicalResearch (NCER) argues that despite the potential benefits of theresearch, there is no justification for destruction of a young humanbeing (Rebecca, 2013). In his argument, embryos are the mostvulnerable human beings. Therefore, the research corrodes moral fiberand violates life and dignity of a person. In this case, herecommends respect for human beings by stopping the research.

Indifferent occasions, religion groups and anti-abortion organizationsargue that life is God-given for both the embryonic cells and thesick patients (Navellier, 2015). In this case, cells should not bedestroyed in search for cure or treatment for people whose lives atstake is god’s will. In one of his speech, Pope John Paul IIdescribed both stem cell research and abortion as an assault oninnocent life in the womb (Rebecca, 2013). He recommended thatAmerican refuse such practices devaluing life at any of thedevelopmental stages between conception and death.

Finally,different groups of ethicists and scientists have acknowledged theirconcerns on stem cell research. In 2009, almost 100 bioethicistsexpressed their rejection of the practices since it would result inthe undesired trade of human organs that can only benefit developednations or colonize the developing countries more (Murnaghan, 2016).In their conclusion, such practices will be not only unethical butalso unnecessary.

Theright thing.

Whilethe debate on the ethicality of stem cell research continues todivide people of opposing views, it becomes only important to seekthe best outcomes for the majority. More importantly, activitiesending human sufferings such as curing disease can be the source ofhappiness and fulfillment of the majority including the patients(Mandal, Ponnambath, &amp Parija, 2016). Borrowing from Utilitarianprinciples, a nurse would hold strong his beliefs as dictated byprinciples such s fairness, autonomy, beneficence, andnon-maleficence. Simply put, supporting and funding the stem cellresearch would mean joy and happiness of many healed patients and thesociety.

Inbrief, stem cell research can lead to breakthroughs ending humandiseases. However, the practice and methods are controversial therebycalling for the attention of different governments, organizations,and individuals. In making the best decision on the matter,government and organizations efforts in developing a policy frameworkto guide the research can help eliminate the issues around thepractice.


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Mandal,J., Ponnambath, D. K., &amp Parija, S. C. (2016). Utilitarian anddeontological ethics in medicine. TropicalParasitology,6(1), 5-7. doi:10.4103/2229-5070.175024

Murnaghan,I. (2016). History| Boston Children`s 29 October 2016, from

Navellier,C. (2015). Ending the Stem Cell Debate: The Impact of iPSCs onEmbryological Ethics. PennBioethics Journal,11(1), 16-19.

Rebecca,p. (2013). Defininga Life: The Ethical Questions of Embryonic Stem Cell Research(Revised) | Almost 29 October 2016, from

Robertson,J. A. (2010). Embryo Stem Cell Research: Ten Years of Controversy.Journalof Law, Medicine &amp Ethics,38(2), 191-203. doi:10.1111/j.1748-720X.2010.00479.x