Stem Cell Research: An Overview

Cassola, Adele; Oweida, Ayman
December 2017
Canadian Points of View: Stem Cell Research;12/31/2017, p1
Embryonic stem cells are self-replicating cells that are capable of differentiating into any type of human cell. Scientists believe that studying the characteristics of stem cells could eventually lead to revolutionary advancements in the treatment of several medical conditions, including diabetes, heart disease, Alzheimer's disease, and Parkinson's disease. Until a scientific breakthrough in 2007, pluripotent stem cells could only be obtained from blastocysts and the tissue of aborted or miscarried fetuses. Multipotent adult stem cells also exist and have been successfully used in medical treatments for several decades. Embryonic stem cell research has stirred heated controversy because the process of extracting stem cells from a blastocyst destroys the embryo. The ethical debate surrounding the issue is dominated by opposing viewpoints about the moral and legal status of the human embryo.


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