Cancer is surrounding us. Either you know people who has it or you are the one who has it. I know nearly 16 People who have it. Everyone of them has a different kind and a different stage. Some fight and live, some fight and die and some do not even have the chance to fight, they just die. Many books deal with the topic. You read them and you cry because most of the time the person who has cancer in the book dies. Not only are you crying when the person in the book dies, but also when the person you know in real live dies. You even cry harder and you are sadder.
An old woman who was like a grandmother to me died last autum because she had pancreas cancer. It was hard for me to accept her death, but it was even harder for me to see her suffer before she died. She was not able to eat, to sleep or to breath without suffering an enormous amount of pain. There was no medical treatment which could have helped her.
She is not the only one. Worldwide millions of people are diagnosed with cancer and die because of it.
This, however, is not the most shocking and horrible part.
There are an estimated 30,000 human diseases known to medicine and according to the World Health Organization, there are still no effective treatments available for around three quarters of the diseases known today worldwide.
Another incurable disease is Parkinson's disease. An estimated 7 to 10 million people worldwide are living with it. Symptoms of Parkinson's are a tremor, shaking fingers and hands, slowed movements, rigid muscles, impaired posture and balance and the loss of automatic movements such as smiling and blinking. There are many medications available to treat the symptoms of Parkinson’s, although none yet that actually reverse the effects of the disease.
Another disease with no effective treatment is Alzheimer’s. Worldwide, nearly 44 million people have Alzheimer’s or a related dementia. Alzheimer's causes problems with memory, thinking and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and get worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks. Currently, there is no cure for Alzheimer's. But drug and non-drug treatments may help with both cognitive and behavioral symptoms.
Cancer, Parkinson and Alzheimer's are just two of the nearly 10,000 diseases with no effective treatment.
Stem cells are non-specialised cells which have the potential to create other types of specific cells, such as blood, brain ,tissue or muscle cells. Stem cell research is used for investigation of basic cells, their properties and development. With the feature to create other types of cells, this research can potentially also help treat a range of medical problems.
It could lead humanity closer to better treatment and possibly cure of a number of diseases like Parkinson and Alzheimer's, but also to heart disease, strokes, Diabetes Type 1, birth defects and spinal cord injuries. Stem cells could replace or repair damaged organs. This would also reduce the risk of transplantation. Stem cells may play a major role in the cure of cancer too.
Quoting the US-politician Jim Ramstad: "Stem cell research will prolong life, improve life and give hope for life to millions of people."
However, many countries are forbidding stem cell research or have so many restrictions to it that it makes no sense to do it.
Their main reason is that it is morally wrong and I just do not understand how they can say this. You do not have to kill people to get their stem cells.
There are two different Kind of stem cells, somatic stem cells and embryonic ones.
Somatic stem cells are found throughout the whole body of adults. The abstraction will surely hurt a little bit, but I believe that if people donate their cells voluntarily, the research of them should be legalised.
As the name suggests, embryonic stem cells are found in embryos. To obtain the research on them you have to destroy the embryo and that is where the moral dilemma starts. When does life starts? Is it murdering? These are just a few questions coming up when people discuss the topic of embryonic stem cells.
In my opinion life starts when the brain starts to function in the 8th week after the conception and no, embryonic stem cell research is not murdering a potential human life as long as you take cells created using an in vitro fertilization procedure for reproductive purposes, but are no longer needed for this purpose. I would also say that the creation of embryos just for research purposes must be prohibited.
All in all stem cell research is the best way to save or at least improve the lifes of millions of people who suffer so massive from diseases with no effective treatment. The more you know about the human body, the better is the help you can offer the people.
Stephen Hawkins said: " Stem cell research is the key to developing cures for degenerative conditions like Parkinson's and Motor Neuron disease from which I and many other's suffer. The fact that cells may come from embryos is not an objection."