Stem cell research for spinal cord injury is a glimmer of hope for people who are suffering from central neurological dysfunction. New advances in cellular cloning give science a renewed interest in attempting to treat previously incurable spinal cord injuries. Stem cell treatment offers the first real chance to possibly repair and regenerate parts of the spinal cord, brain and other vital structures in the body.
If science can determine exactly how to produce predictable results for treatment, life for humans will get much, much better. Stem cell research is the most promising new breakthrough in many years, but has been limited by a considerable share of controversy.
Stem cells are the root of this new and exciting approach to treatment. Stem cells are unique in that they can:
Stem cells can divide and renew themselves for extended periods of time.
They are naturally unspecialized, but can become a variety of highly specialized cell types.
Stem cells have the amazing power to become another type of cell, such as a spinal cord or brain cell. For patients with permanent nerve damage, such as a spinal cord injury, these cells offer the hope of repairing the damage that their own bodies can not fix.
Remember, many traumas to the brain or spinal cord are irreparable naturally or even through traditional medical treatment.
The potential for treatments using stem cells is great. There is research being done to determine how these wondrous cells do what they do. If science could duplicate the mechanisms used by stem cells, there would be numerous uses in medicine and therapy. Of course, the actual stem cells are also a potential treatment. These cells might be used to repair damaged nerves or body parts in living patients, making many presently incurable conditions a thing of the past.
Imagine the ability to inject stem cells into a damaged area of the body and have them replicate healthy tissue. All manner of presently incurable conditions and diseases may become figments of a less enlightened historical period of humankind.
The source of some stem cells includes human embryos and the fetal umbilical cord. There has been strong right wing political opposition to stem cell research, especially under the G.W. Bush administration in America. Religious and moral doctrine have been cited as the main opposition to the successful proliferation of stem cell research. Some religious leaders feel that this type of research is playing God or trying to create a human through unnatural means.
There are many right to life advocates who think stem cell research is somehow responsible for abortions. The issue has really become more of a religious and ideological argument than a scientific one. What an incredible waste of a great idea. It is no surprise that some cruel people want to ruin the possibility of a literal new life for many others… It seems to be human nature.
It is not my intention to get involved in the ethical or religious arguments concerning stem cell research. I do think that all the in-fighting is yet another example of hundreds of years of scientific repression by religious leaders. I seem to remember some religions threatening death to any that believed the world was round. Imagine if we did not become more enlightened, at least a little bit.
The facts of stem cell research is that there are sources that do not have to cause harm to any living being. There are ways around the human cloning fears through limitation of what can be done with stem cell lines. By creating a spectre of evil over the entire idea is not fair to the millions who could benefit from the development of effective nerve regeneration techniques.
Stem cells feature prominently in the future treatment of nerve, spinal cord, brain and organ diseases and injuries. The list of conditions that could be treated grows day by day. It is in everyone's best interest to find a common ground on which science, religion and ethics can meet, look each other in the eye and shake hands. It is one of my most sincere dreams.