Imagine being able to grow a new heart whenever somebody needed one, or imagine being able to cure your Grandfather's Multiple Sclerosis. These things are very possible with the use of something that grows inside of every one of us, Stem Cells. If these stem cells can be controlled, they could cure a variety of debilitating diseases, in as soon as the next ten years. Researchers hope that stem cells will provide a solution to cure diseases caused by cell failure, and for repairing tissues that do not repair themselves. Heart damage, spinal cord injuries, Parkinson's disease, leukemia, and diabetes are among the diseases that could possibly be cured due to stem cell research. But is it really worth it? That is the debate over that has the nation on edge. Stem Cell research will be beneficial to humanity, if the means of attaining these cells is done in a manner that does not harm others.
Stem cells are special cells that have the potential to develop into many different types of tissue: bone, muscle, nerve, etc. In theory, they could be grown into replacements for almost any part of the human body. Stem cells are typically found in the embryo and umbilical cord of an organism, and in reservoirs within our bodies. When a finger is cut, the stem cells are activated to make new skin. Other animals have them too; they are how lizards grow new tails. .
Stem cells are best described in relation to normal human development. When a sperm cell joins with an egg inside a woman (the very first moment of a human's life), it becomes a very basic life form whose cells are totipotent. Totipotent cells are the least developed of Stem Cells, and are very useful because they have the potential to become anything in the human body. After several cycles of cell division in the unborn baby, these totipotent cells begin to specialize, becoming pluripotent. Pluripotent cells are the most useful to research since they are at a stage where they are ready to develop into specialized parts of the body.