WHAT ARE SOME ISSUES IN STEM CELL RESEARCH?
What does stem cell research mean in my world?
New technologies have jump-started the pace of stem cell discovery in recent years. Stem cell therapies being developed today will gradually become commonplace in treating our health problems.
But should we accept these new technologies without considering their implications to society? For example, we might hear about the benefits of a stem cell therapy, but what are the risks? All of us - researchers, policymakers and the public - have a responsibility to explore the potential effects of stem cell research on our lives so that we can make informed decisions.
For each new application of stem cell technology, we must consider:
Ethical, legal and social issues.
There are several types of issues to consider as we think about stem cell research.
Ethical issues are those that ask us to consider the potential moral outcomes of stem cell technologies.
Legal issues require researchers and the public to help policymakers decide whether and how stem cell technologies should be regulated by the government.
Social issues involve the impact of stem cell technologies on society as a whole.
Some questions to ponder.
The questions raised here have no clear right or wrong answer. Instead, your response will depend on your own set of values, as well as the opinions of those around you.
Supported by a Science Education Partnership
Award (SEPA) [No. 1 R25 RR16291-01] from the National Center for Research Resources, a component of the
National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services. The contents provided
here are solely the responsibility of the authors and do not necessarily represent the official
views of NCRR or NIH.
eth-i-cal: (adj.) 1. Relating to morals, especially as concerning human conduct. 2. Morally correct.
le-gal: (adj.) 1. Of or based on law. 2. Appointed or required by law. 3. Permitted by law.
so-cial: (adj.) 1. Of or relating to society and its organization. 2. Concerned with the mutual relations of human beings. 3. Living in organized communities.
pol-i-cy: (n.) 1. Course or principle of action adopted or proposed by a government, party, business or individual, etc.
Definitions adapted from the Oxford Desk Dictionary and Thesaurus.
Step Into Someone Else's Shoes!
Would your views be the same if you were a different person? How might they change if you...
Can you think of other people who would have a special interest in stem cell research? How might their views differ from yours?