TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

January 23, 2014

Stem Cell Research: The Universal Cure


TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY

CORBIN — There is consistent controversy over stem cell research’s ethics, but isn’t it unethical not to use stem cells to help sick and dying people?

Research has shown that stem cells could be the “missing link” to cure previously incurable medical problems such as Alzheimer’s disease, heart disease, spinal cord injury, Parkinson’s disease, cancer and birth defects. Stem cells offer virtually endless possibilities and healing potential.

Stem cells are normally taken from already-aborted 2- to 6-week old fetuses. For people who choose to abort, wouldn’t it be better to have that choice lead to something helpful for the overall population?

For those still disagreeing with the ethics of stem cell research, there are alternative ways to harvest these lifesaving cells. Bone marrow from adult humans also has a large amount of stem cells; this could be the new direction scientists take in their research. While extracting stem cells from bone marrow is painful and must be repeated multiple times, the process is less controversial.

While stem cells are located throughout our bodies, they are far more abundant and potent in a fetus.

Stem cells have the potential to grow into nearly any type of cell and can be molded by DNA into any type of organ. Therefore, stem cells could repair or replace damaged organs without the fear of rejection and the need for anti-rejection medication. These cells hold the potential to eliminate the need for the organ donor system and save millions of lives.

When it comes to cancer, chemotherapy kills infected cancer cells, and stem cells can be used to replace these dead cells. Recovery time for cancer patients could be reduced dramatically and it would lessen a chance of reoccurrence.

Recently, President Barack Obama lifted the ban on federally-funded stem cell research and now advancements in research can start taking place. All that remains is the need for public support.

Perhaps, instead of having 5K fundraisers for cancer, communities could host walks for stem cell research. Gaining the public’s support is the only way for stem cell research to truly flourish.

The benefit of stem cell research outweighs the negatives. The lives of many people could be saved by researching this universal cure.

Jonathan Stivers,

4th Block

Theodore