With the introduction of stem cell research in recent years, progress has gradually enabled a more positive stance to be taken. As the use of human embryos has caused a degree of contention, scientists are now able to produce an endless supply of stem cells without the destruction of embryos which is considered to be a major breakthrough for medical science. In addition, this could be seen to be an effective alternative to the use of animal testing and consequently gradually reduce the experimentation on animals.
Although research into stem cell technology has steadily progressed over the years with the intention to investigate and combat diseases such as the many forms of cancer, heart disease, Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease to name but a few; it seems that this is only the tip of the iceberg,
Many medical investigators are of the opinion that this type of technology has the capability to radically alter the treatment of serious diseases as well as other medical conditions and impairments such as muscular dystrophy, arthritis, blindness, deafness and spinal cord injury. At present, bone marrow transplants exist by way of adult stem cell therapy which is used to treat leukaemia.
As progress is made it becomes more optimistic that stem cell technology could pave the way for further rapid development in some medical fields. This is happening because geneticists, clinicians and cell biologists combine all their efforts into the way forward. It is known that stem cells have the potential for the treatment of some malignant and non-malignant diseases as well as finding the key to genetic diseases.
Stem cells are also being used by pharmaceutical and biotech companies to test potential drugs for toxicity with the intention of having a significantly more dependable system of screening. A considerable amount of work is still being undertaken in this area.
Furthermore, due to the fact that some ethnic races respond differently to drugs it is envisaged that embryonic stem cell research could feature as being a solution to this vital area of investigation to ultimately assist with toxicity of likely drug leads. This discovery has in the past always been eluded as conventional techniques have not been able to provide animal models of race.
The use of embryonic stem cells as in vitro models of human tissue which can be developed to build a human organ that can provide a human profile instead of one of an animal. This is an incredible breakthrough for the study of human diseases. It enables human tissue and cells to be analysed and drugs can be screened to find out more about medical conditions. This is known as personalised medicine enabling the most effective treatment for each disease according to all the criteria involved.
Cancer is one disease which will gain enormously from this discovery. In the past, cancer has usually been treated with a more general form such as chemotherapy but now with the new revolutionary diagnostic testing, the exact drug for each patient’s different type of cancer can be applied to maximise the most effective outcome alleviating side effects as well as being tailor made for each level and severity of cancer.
However, despite the positive indications there still remains a significant amount of scientific and social ambivalence encompassing the stem cell research. It may take a certain degree of time to move on from this but at least the move is in the right direction.