Stem cell research explores the nature and growth capabilities of cells essential for ensuring replacement of cells in living organisms (Paddock, 2017). Such cells have an advantage of being manipulated to any type of cells as it is deemed necessary by the scientists based on scarcity or slow rejuvenation process of the natural cells. The general public has largely adopted a reserved approach to stem cell research and therapy despite the positive research and development showcased by leading scientists including;
· Jun Takahashi: he explored the safety and applicability of stem cell therapy in primates in relations to the Parkinson’s disease, recording a major success between the interaction of human cells and animals (Sandoiu). Furthermore, no long-term negative effect was established from the treatment that saw full recovery of the primates.
· Hai Nguyen, Aileen Anderson and colleagues: carried a similar exercise on injured mice to record tremendous success of the donor cells in a period ranging immediately after the induction process to at most one month (Society for Neuroscience. 2017).
· Scientists from the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute in Los Angeles CA: highlighted the need for stem therapy in replacing aging heart muscles using rats (Paddock, 2017). The induced cells were able to grow and multiply thus repair the heart muscles of the older rats to improve the general body functioning.
Despite the breathtaking discoveries as tested and presented by these scientists, ethical concerns have prevailed to the dismay of an excited global scientists’ fraternity. The general public is cautious in its approach to stem cell therapy from various reasons ranging from the potential to cause cancer to how the media overrates the treatment process that still has critical gaps to full implementation (Begley, 2017). There are two major concerns that arise from the Cedars-Sinai Heart Institute research as reported by Paddock. The first concern as perceived by the layman defined as the general public is the fact the findings are based on animals other than human beings. This experiment was purely run on rodent tissue thus raising a legitimate query as to the consistency if replicated in humans. The second concern arises from Paddocks admission that the scientists proposed the need for further research to determine whether the findings are only valid when the donors are young (2017).
Since the same article admits the fact modern day medicine has seen prolonged life with a possibility of the elderly to exceed the children population, such a dependency on young donors may endanger the human species in the long run.
The excitement surrounding Stem Cell Research is magnified through mainstream media that often cares about moving volumes in sales rather than realistically highlight the caution or reservations pronounced by scientists. However, Sharon Begley is exemplary in her revelation of a high-risk gap in research that links Stem Cell Studies to development or transmission of cancer (2017). Most research initiatives adopt a subjective operation that intends to consider side-effects only after the desired findings are confirmed a success.
That is the reason most research reports spend limited time on challenges and often use the loophole of proposing ‘future studies’, to cover the potential weaknesses of their current work. Such is the case of the human embryonic stem cell lines under the custody of the National Institute of Health as sampled by Harvard Scientists (Begley, 2017). The samples are intended for active therapy and also future research on application in treating diseases including; Parkinson’s disease, macular degeneration and diabetes. Some of the lines were found to possess extreme cancer-causing mutations and based on the multiplication process of Stem Cell therapy; they are a risk to the patient.
It is futile to treat one disease only for the patient to develop another serious disease in the long-run. If this causes concern in the scientific world, one wonders to what extend the general public should be scared of the same. Out of the 140 lines that were randomly selected, 5 lines possessed the cancer-causing mutation and had already been used for treatment (Begley, 2017). The report further seeks to assure stakeholders that clinical trials implemented on an ‘unknown’ number of patients revealed none had been exposed and suffered from cancer. This is another worrying perspective because Begley states the number of trials is ‘unknown’. How are the stakeholders supposed to be assured by the declaration that none of the patients experienced cancerous developments?
The idea that scientific proof through research findings is essential in a rational society raises contentions on the definition of proof. All the successful studies highlighted in the previous paper and summarized at the beginning of this paper are hinged on assumptions that are gladly relegated to the future thus denying the findings a holistic validation. How do the scientists expect the stakeholders to accept the same and integrate the proposed findings into establishing informed public policy? Stem Cell Therapy is still an evolving concept that must not be implemented in its current stage of progress.