The Instigator
AthenaCastor
Con (against)
Losing
6 Points
The Contender
Nietzsche
Pro (for)
Winning
13 Points

Embryonic Stem Cell Research

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Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 12/19/2007 Category: Science
Updated: 9 years ago Status: Voting Period
Viewed: 2,369 times Debate No: 687
Debate Rounds (3)
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Votes (5)

 

AthenaCastor

Con

I am so frustrated with how our media keeps saying "stem cell research" when referring to embryonic stem cell research. There are very different and very distinct types of stem cell research and most people don't know the difference. My own grandmother had Somatic (Adult) Stem Cell Therapy that put her terminal Multiple Myeloma into remission for over 6 years and the public's ignorance on this issue is extremely frustrating. I believe in Somatic Stem Cell Research, but not Embryonic for several reasons all based in science:

Embryonic Stem Cell Research (ESCR) involves taking stem cells from a blastocyst (an embryo about 4 or 5 days old), which consists of approximately 50 to 150 cells total. The main advantage to ESCs is that we know they are pluripotent. Pluripotent means that the stem cells can develop into any type of cell that is inside of our bodies when given the proper stimulation. HOWEVER, ESCs are naturally programmed to divide continuously and remain undifferentiated. In order to be able to use ESCs, scientists have to be able to differentiate the desired cell type, purify the cell, and then be able to stop cell growth once it has done its job. Scientists can differentiate the specific cell type. However, the highest percentage of purity they have achieved is 80%, which is nowhere near what is necessary for cell transplantation in humans. Also, scientists still haven't found a method of halting cancerous overgrowth of the ESCs! Despite the other obstacles, the chances of transplant rejection are extremely high with embryonic stem cells. Many say therapeutic cloning is the answer to preventing transplant rejection in patients, but somatic cell nuclear transfer (SCNT) embryos (aka "clone" without uterine implantation) are very genetically unstable, since the chance of genetic mutations is exceedingly high. The probability of producing a stable SCNT embryo is less than 4%. Another thing, in more than 10 years worth of ESCR, they have yet to even produce a clinical trial!

Somatic (Adult) Stem Cell Research (SSCR) involves taking stem cells from the patient, the blood from the patient's umbilical cord, or a donor (living or dead). SSCs are multipotent and have recently proven to be pluripotent. Multipotent means that the stem cells can develop into several different types of cells. SSCs are typically specialized to a certain group of cells, but in recent years we have found that some SSCs have been able to create cells outside of their group. This has become known as plasticity or transdifferentation. The chances of transplant rejection or cancer are almost non-existent with SSCs, since the cells are being harvested from the patient's own body and are not programmed to continuously divide. HOWEVER, up until recently, we had not been able to harvest pluripotent SSCs to be able to create all 200+ cell types in our bodies, but a recent study showed that under proper conditions a stem cell harvested from human skin tissue became pluripotent. The only issue with SSCs is that they can become damaged by lifestyle choices and environmental conditions. Purifying these stem cells is the normal practice, but it is nowhere near perfect. Also, the number of stem cells tends to be inversely proportionate to the age of the patient (or donor). These obstacles prove problematic, but are far easier to hurdle than those of ESCs. However, cord blood or primary teeth banking can help the next generation elude those complications, since those SSCs are undamaged, easier to harvest, and plentiful in numbers. Another thing, in more than 40 years worth of SSCR, they have produced numerous therapies and treatments!

Many will argue that a lacking in federal funding caused ESCR to lag behind that of SSCR. However, from a fiscally responsible point of view, why should we invest tax payer money into research that hasn't even produced a clinical trial to show its TRUE potential?

To be blunt, as of right now, ESCR is useless. Maybe at a later time it could be of some importance. However, in my opinion, by the time it could be of use, SSCR will have progressed to a point that ESCR will no longer be needed. But as of right now, we need to focus on SSCR, which is actually progressing – no matter of the politics involved.

As a side note: I won't be able to be online every day because I do not have internet access at my home. So, don't assume that a delayed response means I've given up! ;)
Nietzsche

Pro

The basis for your argument seems to be that embryonic stem cell research is, at this time anyway, impractical and should therefore be abandoned. I agree that federal money shouldn't be poured into something that seems to be a lost cause, but researchers within the private sector should still be allowed to conduct ESC research.

I ask you to clarify your argument. I'm not sure if we're debating whether or not the government should fund embryonic stem cell research or if we're debating whether or not it's worth pursuing any further as a society.
Debate Round No. 1
AthenaCastor

Con

Nietzsche,

First of all, I apologize for not clarifying my argument. Second of all, I love the username! :)

My argument has a couple facets. 1) ESCR shouldn't be federally funded as of right now. 2) The media and the public are grossly misinformed when it comes to stem cell research in general.

I simply believe that, as of RIGHT NOW, ESCR isn't showing as much progress as many (ie, politicians, media, etc.) would have you believe and does not yet deserve federal funding. Who knows, maybe one day ESCR WILL be of use and will deserve federal funding, but in my opinion - it doesn't right now. This being said, private sectors should continue to research it, but that politicians, the media, and the general public should be focusing more on SSCR (adult) and the amazing progress it has made and is STILL making.

Again, I apologize for not being as clear as I thought I had been!
Nietzsche

Pro

Nietzsche forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 2
AthenaCastor

Con

AthenaCastor forfeited this round.
Nietzsche

Pro

Nietzsche forfeited this round.
Debate Round No. 3
No comments have been posted on this debate.
5 votes have been placed for this debate. Showing 1 through 5 records.
Vote Placed by atheistman 8 years ago
atheistman
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Vote Placed by Yraelz 9 years ago
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Vote Placed by azrael777 9 years ago
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Vote Placed by oboeman 9 years ago
oboeman
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Vote Placed by thinkpink768 9 years ago
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