Stem Cell Research By: Kari MacQuarrie http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tPulEAryPO0&feature=related
Definition • According to Medical News Today, "Stem cells are a class of undifferentiated cells that are able to differentiate into specialized cell types." • Have potential to develop into various types of cells -may serve as a cell "repair system" • Divide in order to rebuild lost or damaged cells inside a living mammal • A cell without a particular function=able to divide and transform into a cell with a specialized function
Definition Cont. • A stem cell line can be manipulated into directed differentiation • Displays potency by providing new blood cells and immune cells • Categorized into two different types of cells: Embryonic stem cells and Adult (somatic) stem cells
Background • 1981 scientists discovered the use of stem cells on mice embryo experiments • Culture dish coated with the mouse embryonic skin cells (feeder layer) and release the nutrients for the culture medium
Background Cont. • Developed the use of human embryonic stem cells due to the risk of transferring viruses from the mice • Human embryo stem cell research and experimentation in 1998 (embryo initially created with in vitro fertilization) • In 2006, Scientists adult stem cell break through developing into a new cell state
Adult Stem Cells • Found in different types of tissue such as bone marrow, blood, blood vessels, the skin, liver and brain • Commonly thought to be limited in the ability to differentiate according to their origin of tissue • Rare in mature tissues and difficult to expand their numbers • Less likely to be rejected by the immune system after transplantation
Adult Stem Cells Cont. • According to National Institutes of Health, "Scientists now have evidence that stem cells exist in the brain and the heart. If the differentiation of adult stem cells can be controlled in the laboratory, these cells may become the basis of transplantation-based therapies."
Embryonic Stem Cells • 4 or 5 day old embryo known as a blastocyst (extra in-vitro fertilization material)
Embryonic Stem Cells Cont. • Blastocyst inner mass (embryoblast) = bunch of cells which develop into structures of an adult organism (direct source that embryonic stem cells are collected from) • Blastocyst outer mass (trophoblast) = develops into a part of the placenta • Embryo combined with nutrients (culture medium) in a culture dish the embryo divides itself while maintaining an ability to become any cell type in the human body • Pluripotent = Capable of being manipulated into any cell type of the human body
Catholic Position • Against the manipulation of embryonic stem cell research= due to its evident subjection and destruction of a potential life • Supports the utilization of adult stem cell research= due to the liberal consent given by the subject • "They naturally exist in our bodies, and they provide a natural repair mechanism for many tissues of our bodies. They belong in the microenvironment of an adult body, while embryonic stem cells belong in the microenvironment of the early embryo, not in an adult body where they tend to cause tumours and immune system reactions.“ (Priests for Life)
Catechism of the Catholic Church • “It is immoral to produce human embryos intended for exploitation as disposable biological material." (2275) • "God alone is the Lord of life from its beginning until its end; no one can under any circumstance claim the right directly to destroy an innocent human being." (2258)
Pope John Paul II • "This responsibility is of increasing importance in our modern society with its growing embrace of the "culture of death," a culture that endorses the destruction of human life in the womb and promotes the creation of human life in order to destroy it for the sole purpose of harvesting parts."
The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) • "No objective, even though noble in itself, such as a foreseeable advantage to science, to other human beings, or to society, can in any way justify experimentation on living human embryos or fetuses, whether viable or not, either inside or outside the mother's body." (The Instruction on Respect for Human Life in its Origin and on the Dignity of Procreation)
Scripture • Scripture provides faith in life and faith of the unborn life • “I call heaven and earth as witnesses today against you, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and cursing; therefore choose life, that both you and your descendants may live; that you may love the Lord your God, that you may obey His voice, and that you may cling to Him, for He is your life and the length of your days; and that you may dwell in the land which the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, to give them.” (Deut. 30: 19-20) • “Blessed are you among women, and blessed is the fruit of your womb! But why is this granted to me, that the mother of my Lord should come to me? For indeed as soon as the voice of your greeting sounded in my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.” (Luke 1:39-44)
Discussion Questions • When does life begin? • Are we playing God by taking the potential life of another to help someone else? • Is there a place for science and religion to exist together? Or do they belong separately? • Is it morally acceptable to manipulate animal stem cells instead?