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The Mother of All Cells

Cookson provides a lengthy discussion of the numerous benefits and drawbacks of embryonic stem cell technology. First of all, work advances slowly due to a lack of funding and the difficulty of isolating different stem cell lines. Scientists have been able to uncover only 150 lines after seven years of work; and, as Cookson points out, ˘If establishing ES cell lines is tricky, guiding their differentiation is a scientific nightmare,÷ (Rennie, & Cookson, 2005, p. A7). Despite many of the drawbacks making stem cell technology research a slow-going affair at the moment, there is way too much promise for stem cell technology for scientists to turn away from this emerging technology.

Studies on mice have shown promise that stem cells can be used to repair diseases in mammals. While no clinical trials of embryonic stem cells have occurred in the United States, scientists are convinced that some of the most debilitating and degenerative diseases are too complex to be effectively treated with pharmaceuticals or even gene therapy. Living cells work better because they produce a much greater number of ˘biologically active molecules,÷ (Rennie, & Barber, 2005, p. A8). However, if scientists one day achieve their goal, the kind of cell transplantation occurring in experiments with mice might be successful in humans, promising potential cures for brain disease, diabetes, cancer and other illnesses and con


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