Even those who do not study biology or work with cells for a living are likely aware of stem cell research. A great deal of controversy surrounds stem cell research and the majority of citizens do not know the facts. In order to help out, the following list of interesting facts has been gathered, in hopes of increasing public awareness about this interesting form of research.
1. Stem Cell Research Is Older Than You Think
While most have only become familiar with the concept of stem cell research in recent years, the reality is that stem cell research has been taking place since the 1990s, if not earlier. University professors have been experimenting with this technology long before it became a part of the public consciousness.
2. Stem Cells Are Pluripotent
Embryonic stem cells have the unique ability to differentiate themselves into essentially any cell within the body. If the stem cell has been properly isolated from the embryo, then it may be able to produce all of the cells inside of the human body, a huge boon for scientists who are in search of disease cures.
3. Lives Can Be Saved
Stem cell treatment has already helped save the lives of many. A variety of ailments have been treated with the use of stem cells. Anything from injuries sustained in a car accident to sickle cell anemia to a person who has suffered from multiple heart attack can be helped with stem cell research.
4. Cloning Could Happen In The Future
While this concept may seem like something out of a shoddily made science fiction film, stem cell research makes the prospect of cloning a reality. In the future, stem cell research and cloning could provide serious help to nations that are struggling to feed and clothe their populace.
5. Blindness Could Become A Thing Of The Past
Labs are already growing retinal cells, with the objective of implanting them in those who suffer from degenerative cells in their eyes. Perhaps one day the blind will be able to see and they will owe their new-found sight to stem cell research.
6. Presidents Support Stem Cell Research
No matter which party you vote for, presidents on each side of the Republican/Democrat divide have voiced their support for the continuation of stem cell research. When George W. Bush was in office, he funded stem cell research, even though the popular perception among the public was that he had it outlawed.
Meanwhile, Barack Obama has repeatedly indicated his support for stem cell research and even tried to pass an act to make stem cell research easier to conduct. An injunction was filed to block the act, but the actions of each president indicate that this is not the last time we will hear about stem cell research.