May 03 2010

jacob01pd2011

Therapeutic Cloning – A Solution?

While many are “strong supporters of science and technology”( Source A), the subject of therapeutic cloning has been a widely argued over topic in present days scientific spectrum, specifically because of its ethical and moral implications.  However some argue that therapeutic cloning can “lead to cures for many diseases” and should be “legal and regulated”(Source E).   Both views obviously have their pros and cons, as most views on controversial topics tend to have.  Some will “recoil at the idea of growing human beings for spare body parts or creating life for our convenience,”(Source A) while others embrace therapeutic cloning as a method of “deepening comprehension of disease origins and development”, and to develop new medical therapies”(Source E).

                As a society that strives to reach its fullest potential in the scientific and biomedical field, while remaining morally and ethically correct, we must find a solution that allows us to do both.  We must find a solution that allows us to guarantee the “right to life… is vested in each human being”(Source D), and that allows us to advance in the field of biomedical research. 

                Stem cells are also called undifferentiated cells because of their ability to develop into many different various tissues of the human body.  There are two different kinds of stem cells, Adult stem cells, which are “derived from several sources, including umbilical cord blood and human fat,”(Source C) and Embryonic stem cells, which are located in the early human embryo.  Therapeutic cloning is known for taking advantage of cloned embryonic stem cells, which results in the death of the “involuntary donor”(Source C) However, studies have shown, as in the case of “37-year-old Hwang Mi-Soon,”(Source C) that Adult Stem cells, specifically those found in umbilical cord blood, can be used to repair damaged human organs.  Hwang Mi-Soon’s spinal cord was damaged in an accident and she was incapable of walking for 20 years.  After her spinal cord was repaired through the use of “stem cells derived from umbilical cord blood,”(Source C) she was able to stand upright and walk with the assistance of a metal walking frame.  This alternative to the use of embryonic stem cells can promote therapeutic cloning without “demoralizing and redefining human life”(Source F).  Furthermore, “health-related products” such as “clotting factors” which are missing in hemophilia patients can be developed through the use of animals produced by therapeutic cloning. (Source B)

                If alternatives to therapeutic cloning, using embryonic stem cells, exist that allow researchers to not only repair and save lives, but also allow them to do so morally and ethically, then why should they turn instead to a technique that causes much controversy across the globe?  The use of adult stem cells during therapeutic cloning is a solution lingering at the tip of our nose, so why do we refuse to accept it?  Biomedical science and Bioethics must find a compromise.  Whether it be adult stem cells or not, we must as a society find a solution that benefits all, including the seeds of the next generation.

Source A

Bush, George W. “George W. Bush on Stem Cell Research.” July-Aug. 2001. Speech.

Source B

Wilmut, Ian. “Animal Cloning Experiments Will Benefit Humans.” Current Controversies: The Rights of Animals. Ed. Tamara L. Roleff. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1999. Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale. SHANGHAI AMERICAN SCHOOL. 3 May. 2010 <http://find.galegroup.com/ovrc/infomark.do?&contentSet=GSRC&type=retrieve&tabID=T010&prodId=OVRC&docId=EJ3010062211&source=gale&srcprod=OVRC&userGroupName=ingl29443&version=1.0>.

Source C

“Pro-life stem-cell therapy.(Insider Report)(Brief Article).”  The New American. 20. 26 (Dec 27, 2004): 5(1). Opposing Viewpoints Resource Center. Gale. SHANGHAI AMERICAN SCHOOL. 3 May. 2010 <http://find.galegroup.com/ovrc/infomark.do?&contentSet=IAC-Documents&type=retrieve&tabID=T003&prodId=OVRC&docId=A126683885&source=gale&srcprod=OVRC&userGroupName=ingl29443&version=1.0>.

Source D

Sanctity of Human Lifel Act, H.R. 227, 111 Cong. (2009). Print.

Source E

Barglow, Raymond. “Therapeutic Cloning Can Save Lives.” Print.

Source F

Dooley, Thomas P. “Human Cloning Is Unneccessary.” Print.

 therapeutic Cloning 4

4 responses so far




4 Responses to “Therapeutic Cloning – A Solution?”

  1.   victor01pd2011on 03 May 2010 at 11:58 pm 1

    Hey this is an interesting post. Since I also wrote about alternatives to cloning embryos, namely iPS Cell Technology, it was very interesting to read about how adult stem cells derived from umbilical cords can also work as another option. That being said, I think that you could’ve provided a longer explanation or just more descriptions about the use of adult stem cells since it was definitely one of the central themes of your post. I understand that there’s a word limit, but I think that maybe you spent too much time introducing the topic. For example, the second paragraph of your post is very similar to your first (introductory) paragraph and you would be better off removing it so you can focus on your main point.

  2.   wujing01pd2011on 04 May 2010 at 8:13 pm 2

    Reading your post, it seems as if the compromise of using “alternatives to therapeutic cloning” instead of embryonic stem cells seems very reasonable. So reasonable, in fact, that it is peculiar that scientists would even bother to use embryonic stem cells at all. Your explanation of the benefits brought on by adult stem cells, supported by your example, is very convincing. Embryonic stem cells, along with the heavy burden of “controversy” that they carry, don’t appear to be worth the trouble. While I was in complete agreement of your logical suggestion to the problem, I could not help but wonder about the advantages (if any) presented by embryonic stem cells which prompted scientists to choose it over alternative methods all these years. Perhaps clarifying the reasons why embryonic stem cells is preferred at the moment, and explaining why scientists would be willing to agree to using alternatives as a compromise, would make things more clear. Overall, though, I enjoyed your post and thought that you gave a realistic compromise that would likely to be accepted by people both for and against therapeutic cloning.

  3.   shannon01pd2011on 04 May 2010 at 9:19 pm 3

    Jacob,
    It is interesting that you would propose that we use adult stem cells as opposed to embryonic ones. I am curious though, if these adult stem cells do exactly the same job as embryonic stem cells but are “morally and ethically” sound, then why were they not used from the beginning? While your post was quite informative on the issue of therapeutic cloning, I must agree with Victor, in that you could have expanded on the idea of adult stem cells and how exactly they are used. As a reader, I was left wondering how effective these stem cells really were if scientists didn’t use this method from the beginning and how these stem cells worked. If using adult stem cells instead of embryonic ones is a relatively new technique though, then how can we ensure that this is answer to our problems without more research? Also, is it true that these adult stem cells are rare to come by?

  4.   jacob01pd2011on 17 May 2010 at 6:39 pm 4

    Thank you all for your comments and your suggestions! I agree with victor and shannon that I should have expanded more onto the third paragraph that proposes the alternative solution of using adult stem cells rather than embryonic ones. Expanding upon the use of adult stem cells would have made my post more persuasive and my writing more reliable. I also believe as Wen Ting (more or less) states, I should provide some of the benefits that embryonic stem cells have. Thereafter I could have proved that adult stem cells were more ethical and beneficial by indicating it’s benefits. (While embryonic stem cells may……., adult stem cells…….. indicating that adult stem cells are obviously more beneficial medically and ethically) This format could have been used and would have strengthened my argument for an alternative solution rather than using embryonic stem cells. Thank You all again for your comments and suggestions, they have revealed to me the flaws in my writing and I can use these mistakes to better my future posts/writings.