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STEM CELL RESEARCH

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Regenerative medical research aims to develop these cells into new, healthy ... The blastocyst used in stem cell research is microscopically small and has no ... – PowerPoint PPT presentation

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Title: STEM CELL RESEARCH


1
STEM CELL RESEARCH
  • What You Need To Know

2
Outline of This Presentation
  • Stem cell research
  • The nature and promise of stem cell research
  • The ethical debate
  • Funding and regulation
  • How can I become an advocate?

3
What Are Stem Cells?
  • Stem cells are the raw material from which all of
    the bodys mature, differentiated cells are made.
    Stem cells give rise to brain cells, nerve
    cells, heart cells, pancreatic cells, etc.

4
Whats So Special About Stem Cells?
  • They have the potential to replace cell tissue
    that has been damaged or destroyed by severe
    illnesses.
  • They can replicate themselves over and over for a
    very long time.
  • Understanding how stem cells develop into healthy
    and diseased cells will assist the search for
    cures.

5
Two Kinds of Stem Cells
  • Embryonic (also called pluripotent) stem
    cells are capable of developing into all the cell
    types of the body.
  • Adult stem cells are less versatile and more
    difficult to identify, isolate, and purify.

6
Embryonic Stem Cells
Researchers extract stem cells from a 5-7 days
old blastocyst.
Stem cells can divide in culture to form more of
their own kind, thereby creating a stem cell lin
e.
The research aims to induce these cells to
generate healthy tissue needed by patients.

7
Two Sources of Embryonic Stem Cells
  • 1. Excess fertilized eggs from IVF (in-vitro
    fertilization) clinics
  • 2. Therapeutic cloning (somatic cell nuclear
    transfer)

8
Tens of thousands of frozen embryos are routinely
destroyed when couples finish their treatment.
These surplus embryos can be used to produce
stem cells. Regenerative medical research aims t
o develop these cells into new, healthy tissue to
heal severe illnesses.
9
Somatic Cell Nuclear Transfer The nucleus of a d
onated egg is removed and replaced with the
nucleus of a mature, "somatic cell" (a skin cell,
for example). No sperm is involved in this proc
ess, and no embryo is created to be implanted in
a womans womb. The resulting stem cells can pote
ntially develop into specialized cells that are
useful for treating severe illnesses.
10
The Ethical Debate
  • In favor of ESCR
  • Embryonic stem cell research (ESCR) fulfills the
    ethical obligation to alleviate human suffering.
  • Since excess IVF embryos will be discarded
    anyway, isnt it better that they be used in
    valuable research?
  • SCNT (Therapeutic Cloning) produces cells in a
    petri dish, not a pregnancy.
  • Against ESCR
  • In ESCR, stem cells are taken from a human
    blastocyst, which is then destroyed. This
    amounts to murder.
  • There is a risk of commercial exploitation of
    the human participants in ESCR.
  • Slippery slope argument ESCR will lead to
    reproductive cloning.

11
Key Ethical Issues
  • The blastocyst used in stem cell research is
    microscopically small and has no nervous system.
    Does it count as a person who has a right to
    life?
  • What do various religions say about when
    personhood begins? Does science have a view on
    this?
  • In a society where citizens hold diverse
    religious views, how can we democratically make
    humane public policy?

12
Funding and Regulation of Stem Cell Research
  • Federal
  • State
  • International
  • At all three levels of government, the future of
    stem cell research is insecure. The research is
    strongly supported by scientists and very much
    needed by patients.
  • On the other hand those who oppose the research
    are well-funded and determined to legislate it
    out of existence.

13
Federal Legislation
  • Government funding is prohibited for research
    using cell lines developed after Aug 9, 2001.
  • Efforts to regulate the research are currently
    stalemated in Washington.

14
State Legislation
  • In 2003 there were 71 bills in 29 states
  • Legislation supporting therapeutic cloning
    research has been passed in California and New
    Jersey.
  • If it passes in November 2004, the California
    Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative will
    provide 3 billion over 10 years.

15
International Legislation
  • Embryonic Stem cell research is highly
    controversial not only in the United States but
    worldwide.
  • In the past two years, many nations have begun to
    tolerate, if not to support, the research.
  • In the fall of 2004, the United Nations will
    consider enacting a global ban on both
    therapeutic and reproductive cloning.

16
Stem Cell Research Worldwide
17
United Nations
  • In November 2003, a committee of the General
    Assembly defeated by only one vote a proposal to
    ban therapeutic cloning research. The United
    States delegation strongly supported this
    proposal.
  • In September 2004, the General Assembly will
    again consider the proposal to ban the research.

18
What can I do?
  • BECOME INFORMED! Learn the facts about stem cell
    research and its curative potential.
  • Coalition for the Advancement of Medical
    Research
  • www.stemcellfunding.org
  • Stem Cell Action Network (Education
    Page)www.stemcellaction.org

19
Inform Others
  • Contact patient and community groups and offer
    to give a presentation like this one. Organize a
    house party to help spread the word.
  • Offer to help someone else give this
    presentation.
  • Collect email addresses of supporters to be added
    to SCANs mailing list. SCAN will send out news
    bulletins and action alerts about pending
    legislation.

20
Inform Others (contd)
  • Arrange to meet with your political
    representatives to discuss their support for stem
    cell research.
  • Write a letter to the editor of your local
    paper.
  • Find other like-minded people and work together.
    Invite friends, colleagues, and caretakers of
    patients to become involved.

21
BE SEEN!BE HEARD!BE IMPATIENT!
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