Ethical and safety issues of stem cell-based therapy part 6

Stem cell 5


The fundamental question is: Whether it is morally acceptable to pursue novel therapies for curing illness at the expense of destroying an early human embryo?  This debate brings out individual opinions so deeply rooted in basic moral beliefs that developing a definitive policy acceptable to everyone  seems unlikely. This ethical dilemma is portrayed in different legislation that exists throughout the world regulating human embryonic stem cells research. For example, in many countries including United Kingdom, it is illegal to perform nuclear transfer for reproductive or therapeutic purposes, while use of human embryonic stem cells for research is allowed. Other countries retain more extreme stances, as is the case of Italy where there is a prohibition on all human embryonic stem cells-based research. On contrary, it is legal to use supernumerary in vitro fertilization (IVF)-derived embryos for derivation of new human embryonic stem cells lines and to perform nuclear transfer for the generation of patient-specific stem cells in the United Kingdom. United States banned production of any human embryonic    stem cells line that requires the destruction of an embryo and research using human embryonic stem cells lines is limited on usage of line created prior to August 9, 2001. Present restrictions have additionally slowed the progress of human embryonic stem cells technology and provide a significant barrier to the development of cell based clinical therapies. Additionally, the ethical debate surrounding the harvest of human embryonic stem cells has made research  on this topic controversial, and as a result, the majority of studies were focused on animal models.

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