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Medical/ Health Updates

Stem cells help a boy grow new windpipe!

I know George Bush Jr, ex-president of USA, did not allow stem cell research/ therapy as he felt it was immoral to make clones and only God had the right to grow human body. And this had become a national issue in the US at that time. But I am enthused to share the news of a 10 year old boy undergoing a path-breaking transplant surgery to rebuild his windpipe, using his own stem cells. This happened at the London’s Great Ormond Street children’s hospital and the operation lasted for nearly nine hours on last Monday.

One of the main concerns is the acceptance of a new organ by the immune system. But, when the stem cells are derived from one’s own body tissue, there are less chances of it being not accepted.

As per literature in the wikipedia,

“Medical researchers believe that stem cell therapy has the potential to dramatically change the treatment of human disease. A number of adult stem cell therapies already exist, particularly bone marrow transplants that are used to treat leukemia.In the future, medical researchers anticipate being able to use technologies derived from stem cell research to treat a wider variety of diseases including cancer, Parkinson’s disease, spinal cord injuries, Amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, multiple sclerosis, and muscle damage, amongst a number of other impairments and conditions.However, there still exists a great deal of social and scientific uncertainty surrounding stem cell research, which could possibly be overcome through public debate and future research, and further education of the public. Stem cells, however, are already used extensively in research, and some scientists do not see cell therapy as the first goal of the research, but see the investigation of stem cells as a goal worthy in itself.”

But, there is controversy surrounding stem cell research:

Opponents of the stem cell research argue that embryonic stem cell technologies are a slippery slope to reproductive cloning and can fundamentally devalue human life. Some in the pro-life movement argue that a human embryo is already a human life….. that is entitled to protection. So why tamper?

Contrarily, supporters of embryonic stem cell research argue that such research should be pursued because the resultant treatments could have significant medical potential. It is also noted that excess embryos created for in vitro fertilization could be donated with consent and used for the research. Now, this is a moral issue because human embryos are not like animals used as guinea pigs in medical research.

The ensuing debate has prompted authorities around the world to seek regulatory frameworks and highlighted the fact that stem cell research represents a social and ethical challenge. But, Stem Cell research is gaining ground amidst all these controversies and this path- breaking achievement brought to notice….is a definite step towards ‘leap’ progress in medicine alleviating human pain due to body deficiencies. And, I understand that Barrack Obama has reversed the Bush Policy on stem cell research.

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About Raman Ramamurthy

I am a Management consultant, an avid reader, play Lawn tennis in my leisure time and love Music. Presently, I am settled in India along with my wife and my son.

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