There are many positive reports about stem cells and the benefits that patients receive by incorporating stem cell therapy into their healing. However, there are some reports that talk about the stem cell controversy. This controversy is centered around where stem cells come from if they are donated. We receive donor sources of stem cells, however, we only use stem cells from certain sources. This helps our patients to enjoy natural healing while avoiding any stem cell controversy. Learn how we ethically use our stem cell treatments and how those treatments benefit our patients!
The potential for stem cells for curing a wide range of different disease and conditions is beyond exciting. But with all that excitement is an equal amount of skepticism. Largely, the controversy revolves around the use of human embryos for research purposes.
Embryonic stem cell research calls into question two moral principles: 1) The duty to prevent or alleviate suffering; and 2) The duty to respect the value of human life. Both sides of the debate are interested in protecting human life, so why are views so different? This is a debate that is ongoing, but in 2006, scientists wrapped up in the bioethics of stem cell research got a big break. Scientists learned how to engineer a patient’s own cells to behave like hES cells and called them Induced Pluripotent Stem Cells or iPSCs.
Despite all the controversy surrounding stem cell therapy, most everyone agrees that amniotic stem cell therapy is an appropriate use of science. Amniotic stem cells come from the amniotic sac – not an embryo. This fact allows amniotic stem cell therapy to escape most of the ethical or moral questions surrounding treatment and therapy.
Amniotic Stem Cell therapy also has an advantage over other methods because amniotic stem cells carry no threat of patient rejection. Amniotic stem cells are “neutral” cells which have no DNA in them making everyone a match. Amniotic fluid is a highly concentrated source of stem cells, which makes this type of stem cell injection better than embryonic stem cells and the patient’s own stem cells (from bone marrow or fat).
Another component of the controversy surrounds funding the stem cell industry. Taxpayers that don’t support stem cell therapy and research ethics, don’t want to support it with their wallets either. They argue that it isn’t justified that the federal government contribute billions of dollars annually for biomedical research that isn’t supported by all.
Now, with better technology and research, scientists can grow human organs and tissues without the use of embryonic stem cells, helping ease some of the ethical concerns surrounding treatment.
Why the fight for stem cell therapy and treatments? Regenerative medicine holds the potential to cure a multitude of health problems. Consider the following list provided by the National Institute of Health which lists the benefits of regenerative medicine:
Scientists and doctors are teaming up to make the once impossible possible. Stem cells can help with: 1) Hair, retina and nerve regeneration; 2) Skin, cartilage, bone and tooth regeneration; 3) Heart, liver, brain tissue regeneration; and 4) Macular degeneration prevention…among a few.
The bioethical debate concerning regenerative medicine continues, but as scientists and technology eliminate existing barriers the great potential of stem cell therapy will be realized.