Stem Cell Research

Stem cell research has been touted as a highly promising avenue for the treatment of disease and injury. Embryonic stem cells (ESC) have the ability to differentiate into the more than 200 different cell types in the human body. While these controversial cells have been promoted as more promising for the treatment of disease, this research involves the destruction of embryos, and thus makes it unethical from CBHD's perspective. Furthermore, despite all of the early claims of potential ESC research has faced significant technical hurdles. Adult stem cells are found in several human tissues (e.g., bone marrow and umbilical cord blood), and in contrast to embryonic stem cells do not raise the same kind of moral concerns and have provided a number of successful treatments and therapies. Recent advances in this field also include the discovery and development of induced pluripotent stem cells (iPS or iPSCs) and direct cell reprogramming, both of which hold significant promise for the understanding and treatment of disease and avoid the ethical concerns of embryonic stem cell research raised by the destruction of human embryos. Other ethical considerations regarding stem cell research include the potential use of human pluripotent stem cells in animals as well as the potential creation of human gametes or embryos from stem cells. Stem cell research falls under the broader category of biotechnology.