Wednesday, 13 October 2021

ETHICAL ISSUES FACED BY STEM CELL THERAPY (#stemcells)(#ethics)(#biochemistry)(#biotechnology)(#ipumusings)

ETHICAL ISSUES FACED BY STEM CELL THERAPY 

ETHICAL ISSUES FACED BY STEM CELL THERAPY (#stemcells)(#ethics)(#biochemistry)(#biotechnology)(#ipumusings)


Author: Preity Yadav

Over the past years, undisputed safety concerns & ethical issues have been elevated for stem cell therapy in experimentation areas. Stem cells application in medical research has been a topic of debate. The therapeutic application of stem cells became public knowledge for the first time in the late 1990s. Scientists at that time derived stem cells from human embryos. Manoeuvre of adult stem cells is unethical yet usage of human embryonic stem cells (HESC) in medical research is an ethical issue & have become a controversial topic. 


Many people are against using HESC for clinical applications as for them it means extracting & destroying human embryos. People have unlike faith and this creates a complex issue. For some, selfhood initiates with the nativity of a child and for some alterity initiates when an embryo has fully evolved into a foetus. For some, an embryo has the same moral status as that of a child and shares the same rights which are given to a child. The significant ethical issue with HESC relates to the moral character of the inner mass of the blastocyst. Basically at what state did selfhood started flourishing in the foetus. Over the past years, many states have been suggested for the emergence of personhood. For example, during fertilization, the time when the formation of twins cannot occur, i.e., the time elapsed after fertilization, time from the first movement of the foetus or during the time of delivery. 


Former U.S. President George W. Bush believed that human embryos should be considered and given the same value as that of living beings and to be used for medical research purposes. He had a strong antiabortion view on this topic. In 2001, he prohibited the government from supporting further research on the subject. Later, US President Barack Obama repealed this order. 


By 2006, scientists commenced the utility of induced pluripotent stem cells (IPSC). These were not derived from embryos. As a consequence, they were unethical. IPS Cells can be obtained from adult stem cells such as skin fibroblasts. IPS Cells circumvent ethical issues like that of human ES work while they also provide tissues that are easily available (directly from the patient) and which can be transplanted back into that same patient without immune rejection. The moral status of IPS cells still remains contentious & certain discussions are raised if it could work the same as that of human embryonic stem cells and if it could raise the same human person. 


In 2011, The Court of Justice of the European Union has administered the patenting of neural antecedent cells created from human embryonic stem cells and announced a judgment that this must be banned. The Court focused on the importance of certain cells which had the ability to initiate the process of development of the human body which is a quality that these cells show. This decision became a topic of debate. This verdict and its practical inference demonstrated that stem cell work generates not only ethical and lawful debate but also has significant consequences for how scientists are treated and what research can actually be done. In fact, the verdict threatens those who believe that embryonic stem cells have a moral status similar to a person have a better moral point of view and as such this should dictate the direction of this whole field of research. This is distinctly not useful principally given that it is by no means certain that adult stem cells neither iPS cells are a good (both morally and therapeutically ) substitute to ES cells. , tissue from the evolving human foetus has also been used for the creation of stem cells for grafting in such patients. 


Although most cases of stem cells and their applications in human neurodegenerative diseases are focused on embryonic stem cells, such tissue is derived from organised medical and surgical (as opposed to spontaneous) abortions. Although its application is therefore debatable for this reason, it is significant to know that abortion is legal in many countries so practically it can be said that if it is rejected in other ways, the use of fetal tissue for therapeutic purposes is not a problem. This is a common point that is promoted by explicit guidelines on the duty of the teams involved with the termination of pregnancy and the team wanting to use the foetal tissue. In the UK, these regulations are clear & ensure that the choice to terminate a pregnancy is done separately from any decision to use that tissue for experimentation or therapeutic motive, in other words, there is no choice to donate tissue to a specific recipient. Vital concerns and topics of argument related to stem cell therapy include the fear of major side effects and even mortality with such treatments. They could severely affect the growth of all stem cell therapies across the world including laboratories that are conducting scientifically rational trials. Also, the pressure to rush a good research experimental stem cell therapy to clinical trials in order to prohibit this type of work from being developed in less rigorously regulated clinics.



ABSTRACT :

Over the past years, undisputed safety concerns & ethical issues have been elevated for stem cell therapy in experimentation areas. Stem cells application in medical research has been a topic of debate. The therapeutic application of stem cells became public knowledge for the first time in the late 1990s. Scientists at that time derived stem cells from human embryos. Manoeuvre of adult stem cells is unethical yet usage of human embryonic stem cells (HESC) in medical research is an ethical issue & have become a controversial topic. Former U.S. President George W. Bush believed that human embryos should be considered and given the same value as that of living beings and to be used for medical research purposes. He had a strong antiabortion view on this topic. In 2001, he prohibited the government from supporting further research on the subject. Later, US President Barack Obama repeal this order. By 2006, scientists commenced the utility of induced pluripotent stem cells (IPSC). These were not derived from embryos. Vital concerns and topics of argument related to stem cell therapy include the fear of major side effects and even mortality with such treatments. They could severely affect the growth of all stem cell therapies across the world including laboratories that are conducting scientifically rational trials. 


REFERENCES:

📌 Scientific and ethical issues related to stem cell research and interventions in neurodegenerative disorders of the brain.  By: Roger A. Barker, Inez de Beaufort. (See link)

📌 What are stem cells, and why are they important? By: David Railton and Alina Sharon — Updated on July 6, 2021. (See link)


About the Author:



Preity Yadav, a graduate student of the University School of Chemical Technology, GGSIP University, Delhi. She is pursuing her degree in Biochemical engineering. 



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