Human Embryonic Stem Cell research is one of the most promising areas of medical study but it is still at its infant stage (citation).
Therefore, there might be several unavoidable flaws which likely to occur such as rejection from the patient’s body. Joshi et al. (2016) report that rejection rates for embryonic stem cell therapies are likely to be high as stem cells which are derived from embryos that are not patients own will trigger the activation of immune system and in the end, body system will recognize the cells as foreign cells. Based on a recent study, Vittana (2017) highlights another health problem that is possible to appear during the treatment which is the development of tumors.
Development of these tumors happened as a result of the uncontrolled dividing process of embryonic stem cells. Another research proves that the implementation of embryonic stem cell in a treatment involving heart disease patients has led to the narrower of coronary arteries (Joshi et al., 2016). Generally, the condition of the patient became worsened and it subsequently leaves a negative impact on embryonic stem cell treatment.
Despite all the benefits hESC might contribute for a better health care in the future, this therapy seems to have many drawbacks which makes it a mediocre approach and a better approach is necessary.Countries around the world have outlined several restrictions on embryonic and fetal research as a response to the various controversies over stem cell research specifically embryonic stem cell research. Legislations governing embryonic stem cells are diverse and vary across countries all over the globe (National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL), 2016). According to The New Atlantis (2012), in Italy, they imposed strict laws in regulating embryonic stem cells research based on Law 40 which came into effect on March 10, 2004, and the law stated that both embryos research and research on human embryos are banned including the use of embryos in determining the embryonic cells lines. Italian law also provides penal provision ranging from ten to twenty years for impermissible experimentation on embryos (The New Atlantis, 2012). NCSL (2016) reports that under South Dakota law enacted in 2000, it strictly prohibits the research on embryos regardless of their sources. Furthermore, according to South Dakota law, the annihilation of embryos to run non-therapeutic research is considered as a crime (NCSL, 2016).
Hence, the formation and existence of effective legislation concerning restriction on embryonic research demonstrates how harmful this experimentation could be.Indeed, looked at as a whole, it may not necessary to use embryonic stem cells to pursue stem cell research. Adult stem cell, therefore, might be a better choice. Salim (2015) asserts that adult stem cells have been used more than 40 years as active agents for bone marrow transplantations to cure various blood disorders such as leukemia, anemia, blood cancers and immune system dysfunctions.
Interestingly, a new approach called “induced pluripotent stem cells ((iPSCs) has been introduced (Patil, 2014). Salim (2015) explains that a recent research showed that adult stem cells can be reprogrammed to become induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs), cells that behave and in the meantime can perform the same function as embryonic stem cells. Through iPCS reprogramming, any types of cell tissues can be generated from adult stem cells (Vitanna, 2017). This includes the involvement of reversing the differentiating cell signals to produced desired or specialized cells (Joshi et al). Apart from that, Kirsten Riggan (2011) argues that direct cell reprogramming can be implemented in biomedical field as it has a higher percentage of success compare to human embryonic stem cell which is still at its infancy. As expressed, iPSCs are produced in a more ethical way without the destruction of human embryos compared to how embryonic stem cells are derived.
In general, it is proven that the use of iPSCs in stem cell research can avoid technical challenges and social controversies.In a nutshell, human embryonic stem cells offer a better chance in treating malignancies diseases but inflict many issues in term of moral, funding and in the establishment of law in the effectiveness of the clinical application in the future. Stem cell research is advancing beyond time despite all of the controversies it has faced. Thus, all parties including policy-makers, ethicists, and researchers should think of the right way to pursue this research without violating human subjects.
Adult stem cell research may be the best answer for this problem. Therefore, we should focus more on this research to increase the effectiveness and efficiencies of the adult stem cell application in future.