Stem Cells: what they are and what they do

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As the world advances in medical technology, there is developing research on the focus of Stem Cell therapy. Countries around are using government funds to boost their programs and be competitive in the global innovation race. However, the United States (U.S.) created laws that limits the governments' funding towards Stem Cell research programs. These laws created by President George W. Bush have stopped the growth of U.S. Medical technology in comparison the world. According to Bush his main reasoning to restricting funds on research was because, At its core, this issue forces us to confront fundamental questions about the beginnings of life and the ends of science (qtd. in Park). Present day, due to the presence of unregulated clinics that are giving unregulated treatments, the FDA is now cracking down on research programs (Sifferlen). The governments' focus has been towards Human Embryonic Stem Cells (HESC), which originate from the fetus (Lo, Parham). But as researchers have found, there are more to Stem Cells than just HESC, such as pluripotent stem cells (PSC), which are cells with a lot of potential and more than 200 different tissue cells (CIRM). Categories of PSC include; Adult Stem Cells (ASC), which originate from bone marrow and fats within the body that can replenish damaged/ dead tissue (UNMC). Cord Blood Stem Cells (CBSC) which come from the umbilical cord after birth, averaging over 500 million cells (Nature Biotechnology). PCS stay away from the least amount of ethical conflict in comparison to HESC. Even though there are other routes such as PSC that do not have as much controversy, the main conflict over Stem Cells solely focuses on HESC. Advocates push more for stem cells because they believe there are many benefits that will help the general population. However, critics disagree with this advancement because of economic matters. Stem cell therapy should be used more generally in the medical field because there are a lot of benefits that come from it.

Stem cell therapy introduces new methods of medicine for major diseases. The therapy can replace old methods and be better. Especially those that are ineffective and hindering. Take for instance a cancer patient who undergoes chemotherapy. The treatment kills the cancer cells, but in the same fact it also kills regular cells. This leads to weakening the immune system and potential of new diseases being introduced. If scientists can find a way to create cells based off of attacking the cancer cells instead of regular autoimmune cells, then the probability of patients dying will be reduced. There has been a study done already at the University of Minnesota where researchers conducted a bone marrow transplant on a patient with HIV. The results. The patient was ostensibly cured (Nature of Biotechnology). The possibilities on stem cells are endless and as the California Stem Cell Agency (CIRM) believes, there's no limits to the types of diseases that could be treated with stem cell research (CIRM). And if the focus was solely on ASC/ CBSC, then controversy will be avoided. Furthermore, the University of Nebraska Medical Center (UNMC) informed the public that success has already been demonstrated in various clinical applications on ASC (UNMC). Additionally, ASC can also be used in minor treatments. For example, public star Joe Rogan explains how he had a bad shoulder injury and instead of doing regular treatment which would require medication, he instead did stem cell therapy and insists that he felt 100% better in a short amount of time (Rogan 11:3512:00). Instead of contributing to the opioid crisis in America, which as The National Institute of Health (NIH) states, Everyday, more than 115 people in the United States die after overdosing on opioids, stem cells can be a means to decreasing these statistics (Opioid Overdose Crisis). If ASC/CSBC can be a contributing factor to stopping this crisis than funding these programs more will benefit the U.S... Furthermore, the Stem Cell Institute located in Panama, have already taken matters into their own hands and started the research process. These studies lead by Dr. Neil H. Riordan, PA, PhD, focus on many deficiencies such as autism and cerebral palsy. The institutes studies' have shown great results. In particular, a patient with cerebral palsy showed improvement by being able to walk again after a couple rounds of treatment (Riordan). Follow up an explanation that ties into subject/overall theme. Imagine the limitless possibilities if the U.S. government funded research for stem cells more. Those disabled can be helped by effective treatments. Old methods can be replaced, and the U.S. can advance in medical technology.

Stem cell therapy will benefit the economy and eliminate high costed medicine. Medical expenses in the U.S. are constantly affecting producers and consumers. In 2017, the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) reported that the U.S. spent about 333.4 billion dollars in retail prescription drugs (CMS). Globally, the pharmaceutical market is expected to grow to 1.3 trillion dollars (Ruggerio). Additionally, the National Cancer Institute (NCI) reported that the Health and Human Services included 5.74 billion dollars in their budget for cancer research (NCI). In comparison, The NIH reported in 2017 that the government funds 3.2 billion dollars in stem cell research and development (NIH). This shows the difference in funding between programs, and how there is an inequality. A possible reason to why the government does not invest is due to lack of evidence of stem cell economic success. But as shown in California alone, the CIRM, who received 1.2 billion in funds, generated 286 million dollars in tax revenue. Furthermore, with the small funding, it allowed the agency to create 38,000 jobs (CIRM). This goes to show, if the U.S. where to invest more into research programs then the economy would create a sustainable revenue and more job opportunities. So forth, decreasing the funds on other programs and equaling all benefits the people as well. Take for instance, the global pharma companies, who totaled a profit sale of almost 600 billion dollars (Ruggerio). This is a good thing for the companies but ultimately hurts the people because some (especially the ill), need their products in order to survive. By pushing stem cell therapy to the public, the U.S. can stop these outside money machines from growing. Additionally, if the U.S. figures a way to include stem cell into healthcare programs once research has been completed, it will increase revenue and satisfy the consumer-which is the American people. Now this does not mean to completely abort other healthcare funds, but rather level the playing field so that way the economy can grow equally along with medical innovations. The key is to start investing more into stem cells so that there is a greater output for society.

Although there are many benefits to Stem cell therapy, there are many flaws that critics capitalize on. For instance, a main argument against stem cells, is the economic value of the therapy. According to Nature Biotechnology/ Sarah Webb, the estimated cost for a cord blood transplant treatment is about 40,000$ (Nature Biotechnology). This makes stem cells inefficient and expensive. As it is the U.S. spent about 4 trillion dollars in 2015 on healthcare alone (The Effect). So, from the government's funds perspective, (stem cell therapy can be expensive). And as the Agency for Healthcare research and Quality reported, direct medical cost for people in 2015 was roughly 80.2 billion dollars (Economic Impact). Critics believe that the cost makes stem cells inefficient for consumers, therefor focus should be centered on other technological matters. This is a fair point that critics argue, however, from an economic standpoint, stem cells are still in the beginning stage. There is no surplus; therefore, the therapy is expensive. Compare it to when flat screen televisions first came out. At first, they were expensive. But as more companies started to invest, now these televisions are cheap. That surplus principle can be applied to stem cells as well. The limits on funds drastically make the price for a treatment to be inflated. As Aaron Levine, associate professor at Georgia Tech and Guest Researcher at Centers for Disease Control Prevention, shows, the U.S. is clearly underperforming in Stem Cell science (Harvey 79). If we want the cost of stem cells to be reduced, then the U.S. has to invest more like Australia where they invested 2.56 percent of total government funds in 2008 (Harvey 74). MAYBE EXPAND ONE MORE SENTENCE TO END OVERALL ARGUMETN?

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Australia: State strategies and other opportunities to build a competitive position in the global stem cell economy. Journal of Commercial Biotechnology, vol. 16, issue 1, 2010, pp. 72-83. U of New South Wales. Ebscohost,

Holland, Suzanne, et al., editors. The Human Embryonic Stem Cell Debate.

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Hunt, John A., et al. Impact of cell purification technique of autologous human adult stem cells

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Stem cells: What they are and what they do. (2019, Jun 26). Retrieved July 20, 2024 , from

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