Stem Cells

Is the potential of stem cell research over- stated?
By Danielle Hooper

Stem cells are unique cells with special growing characteristics. They can make identical copies of themselves and are found throughout the body. For example, a nerve cell stays a nerve cell until it dies. Stem cells, however, can change into many types of cells, blood cells, heart cells, muscle cells, skin cell and more. When a stem cell divides it has the potential to remain a stem cell or become a different cell.
There are two different types of stem cells, embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. “Embryonic stem cells come from embryos. The embryo is destroyed and the stem cells are extracted. Adult stem cells are taken from humans (children and adults) without harming them.”(Healey, 2003) Embryonic stem cells are able to divide into any type of specialized cell, while adult stem cells are limited to the amount of cells they can differentiate in to. The only stem cell to have ever helped patients has been adult stem cells, while embryonic stem cells have a zero success rate. This is because embryonic stem cells destroy human embryos. The aim of taking embryonic stem cells is to save another life not take them.
“Researchers believe that stem cells may revolutionise human medicine through their ability to make new cells to replace patient’s diseased or damaged cells. Incurable diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, heart attack, stroke and traumatic brain injury could be treated by transferring new cells, generated from stem cells, to the patient.”(Healey, 2003)
“Australian Researchers in Melbourne have found a way how to take adult stem cells from the human brain. This could cure people who have Neurological conditions.”(Abboud, 2003)
A Melbourne man was one of the first people to have his own stem cells mend his broken leg. The Doctor harvested bone marrow from his pelvis; they were left isolated and grew in massive amounts. In the last week about 30 million cells were implanted...