The Federal Government and Financial Support for Stem Cell Research

The Federal Government and Financial Support for Stem Cell Research


Cells are the building blocks of living things. However, these cells come in a variety of types such as skin cells, brain cells, muscles cells and bone cells. That is, they are specialized. They are designed to do only certain jobs within particular body parts. When these cells die, they are not replaced. If too many of the cells die, the body part they form becomes damaged forever. However, a few cells in the body are generative. That is, they are progenitor cells that can become any part of the body, they self-rebuild. Such cells are referred to as the human stem cells. In the human body, they are only found in the brain, bone marrow, skin and liver. They can repair moderate damage (Forman, 2007, pgs. 1-6).

Another kind of stem cell, however, is more versatile and is referred to, as the embryonic stem cells. They come from embryos or unborn humans in the very earliest stages of life. To be used in stem cell research, they must be less than one-week-old (Forman, 2007, pg. 8). It is these cells, which can develop into every cell in the body. They are the source of debate over stem cell research and the role that the federal government should play in the funding of such research.

This paper will highlight the benefits that the citizens of the United States will gain from all forms of stem cell research, which are funded by the federal government. It will also outline the gains that would be reaped if the federal government failed to fund such research and the funds are channeled to other sectors of the economy whose results are more assured.

Stem Cell Research

Stem cell research involves the study of both embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. However, it is the human embryonic stem cell that are predominantly used due to their capacity to provide large, purified populations of human cells such as the heart muscle cells, pancreatic cells or neurons for transplantation therapies. Additionally, they offer insight into the developmental events that cannot be studied directly in the intact human embryo, but which have important consequences in clinical areas such as birth defects, infertility and pregnancy loss (Schatten, 2006, pgs. 202-203). Stem cell research has known an enormous development and cellular transplantation and holds a great promise for regenerative  medicine. Scientists present stem cell research as the key to several potential applications in research, drug discovery and trans-plantation medicine (Lynch, 2011, pg. 20).

Arguments For and Against Federal Government Funding to Stem Cell Research

Participants in the public debate surrounding human embryonic stem cell research and the administration’s funding policy have addressed themselves to many complicated and difficult ethical matters. As many people as

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