Learn the Truth About Stem Cells and Stem Cell Research
Which is proven effective to cure diesase--embryonic or adult stem cells?
First, a short bit of background info. When a stem cell divides, each new cell has the potential to either remain a stem cell or become another type of cell with a more specialized function, such as a muscle cell, a red blood cell, or a brain cell. That is why stem cells are often referred to as the "master cells" of the human body.
There are two basic types: embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells. Embryonic stem cells are extracted from fertilized eggs or embryos. When the stem cells are removed the embryo is destroyed, raising a variety of ethical concerns. Many scientists believe that embryonic stem cell research will result in miracle cures to some of our most debilitating diseases, but scientists have yet to learn how to control and manipulate these powerful cells. In fact, in laboratory research using rodents, embryonic stem cells either caused tumors or were rejected by the host - which is why many scientists to look to therapeutic cloning as a source for compatible stem cells.
The truth about embryonic stem cells is very different from the media hype. Billions of dollars have been invested in controversial embryonic stem cell research; however embryonic stem cells have yet to benefit a single patient. After 20 years of research, there are no approved treatments or human trials using embryonic stem cells. Scientists admit that it could be another 20 years before embryonic stems cells can be used to effectively treat disease - if ever. While embryonic stem cell potential remains theoretical, adult stem cell treatments are already being used to successfully treat many diseases. The use of adult stem cells in research and therapy is not as controversial as embryonic stem cells, because the production of adult stem cells does not require the destruction of an embryo. Adult stem cells also pose no medical dangers to the patient - because the cells come from the patient's own body there is no risk of transplant rejection. Among the stunning advancements in adult stem cell therapy are treatments for various types of cancer, leukemia, arthritis, anemia, liver and cardiovascular diseases, Parkinson's disease, and even spinal cord injuries.
Adult stem cells have literally enabled the lame to walk and the blind to see, while embryonic stem cells have yet to treat a single disease.