Describe about the Business Ethics for Optimistic Outlook.
Stem cells are significant for existing organisms for a number of reasons. For instance, in a 3 to 5day old embryo, the internal cells usually give rise to the complete body of the organism, with the inclusion of all of the numerous specialized cell types and organs such as skin, sperm, eggs, heart, lungs, and other tissues (Green 2001, p.10). In some mature tissues such as brain and bone marrow, separate populations of mature stem cells tend to create replacements for cells that are misplaced through ordinary wear and tear, illness, or malady. Notably, scientists are currently using stem cells in the laboratory to screen novel drugs and to build up model systems to research normal development and determine the causes of birth flaws. Furthermore, stem cell research is now one of the most interesting fields of modern day biology, even though it increases scientific questions as quickly as it generates novel discoveries.
Recently, a number of researchers and authors have had an optimistic outlook on stem cell research and how it profits the community. One of the main advantages is that it has the ability to regenerate significant tissues in a person’s body such as the skin and blood vessels. As a result, many people are helped especially those suffering from illnesses such as cancer, car crash victims and the elderly (Leeb, Jurger & Keener 2001, p.15). A stem cell research was carried out on a young boy by a scientist named Anthony Atala. Taking strong cells from the boy who had a busted bladder, Atala fed the cells with numerous nutrients and proteins. He also allowed the cells to multiply and develop. Atala then took these recently created cells, positioned them into a recyclable skin (collagen) balloon and allowed the cells to take outline of a bladder (La Madeleine 2005, p.20). This new bladder was then placed back into the little boy, enabling him to be well once again.
It was also observed that the transference of genes to the nucleus of fully developed cells via a virus tends to allow that cell to transform into various other cells which are similar to the embryonic stem cells. This particular experiment is seen as a positive advancement since it is able to replace embryonic stem cells that are being utilized to avoid legal concerns and ethical issues. Interestingly, the experiment does not go against religious beliefs to assist others. It is important for Company ABC to note that there are those who look at stem cell research in a negative manner, raising religious, moral, safety and ethical concerns (Hall 2001, p.22). Stem cells appear to be present in various other tissues than researchers had previously thought. Company ABC would also like to gain more information on the potential for further international spread of the Zika virus. This virus is a mosquito-borne flavivirus that is currently the focus of ongoing public health and pandemic emergency (Brown 2006, p.27). The Zika virus was initially limited to sporadic cases in the African and Asian continents, but it soon showed up in Brazil and rapidly spread to other parts of the Americas.
The Zika virus, pregnant women, unborn babies, and their relation to stem cell research. Despite progressive knowledge about the Zika virus, questions still remain regarding its vectors and reservoirs, possible synergistic influences of co-infection with other spreading viruses, pathogenesis, and genetic diversity. Recently, a team of Yale researchers observed that infection by this particular virus stops neural stem cells from dividing in the growing human brain thereby resulting in the birth flaw microcephaly (Jiang, Jahagirdar &Keene 2002, p.30). The Zika virus diverts an important protein needed for neural stem cell division. Primary microcephaly is an outcome of the depletion of neural stem cells, the originator or progenitors of all cells found in the mature brain (DeCamp & Sugarman 2004, p.35). Lately, researchers have discovered the existence of a novel form of neural stem cell referred to as Neuroepitehlital stem cells, or NES. These cells are derived from the initial population of neural stem cell found in the initial phases of brain growth. These populations then serve as the progenitor or stem cells for glia and neurons. They also provide scaffolding that help direct upcoming neurons to the correct position in the brain. Researchers have used these NES cells to recreate the brain disorders linked to the Zika virus in the laboratory (Steinbrook 2006, p.37).
Company ABC has expressed its concerns over the Zika virus, focusing on pregnant women and unborn babies particularly since it causes brain abnormalities in growing fetuses. However, there are a few possibilities that stem cell research can be applied to prevent further international spread of the virus. In relation to pregnant women and unborn babies, scientists are today committing many exploration hours to management based on embryonic stem cells, distinguishing them from embryos into brain cells, and replacing destroyed or damaged tissues in the body. In a novel study in mice, it was observed that nature too has come up with its own solution. Apparently, when an expectant mouse suffers a heart attack, her fetus contributes some of its stem cells to aid in rebuilding the damaged heart tissue (Penning & Steirtghem 2004, p.40). Pregnant mice which had heart attacks indicated 8 times as countless cells from the fetus in their hearts compared to mice which did not suffer any heart attack. Similarly, physicians have also observed that women who tend to experience weakness of the heart during pregnancy or immediately after giving birth have higher chances of recovery compared to other groups of heart failure patients.
Before deciding on what type of stem cells to use for their gene therapy technique, Company ABC needs to understand the differences and similarities between adult and embryonic stem cells. Each of these stem cells has their unique pros and cons with regards to potential use for cell-oriented regenerative treatments. Notably, one main distinction between the two is their distinct aptitudes in the type and number of separated cell forms they can become (Curzer 2004, p.41). This is to say that while embryonic stem cells are capable of becoming all cell forms of the body because they are pluripotent, mature stem cells are somewhat limited to separating into various cell forms of their tissue of derivation (Kass 2002, p.48). In addition, embryonic stem cells can easily be developed in culture while adult stem cells are uncommon in fully developed tissue. Separating the adult cells from a mature tissue can be quite challenging, and techniques to spread their figures in cell culture have not yet been deduced. Many scientists today believe that tissues drawn from embryonic and fully developed stem cells may differ in the possibility of being rejected soon after transplantation. Notably, the use of mature stem tissues and cells drawn from a patient’s own adult stem cells would mean that these cells are less liable to be rejected by the immune system (Holland, Lebacqz & Zoloth 2001, p.51). This, therefore, is an advantage in itself.
Theoretical Review (applicable theory or theories). There are a number of possible theories for Company ABC to consider when choosing the type of stem cells to use for their gene therapy method. Two of these theories are discussed below.
Stem cell theory of aging
This particular theory argues that the aging procedure is the outcome of the failure of numerous forms of stem cells to carry on reloading the tissues of a given being with useful differentiated cells able to maintain that tissue’s initial function (Green 2001, p.53). The quantity of stem cells in young individuals is very much high compared to that of older individuals. This in turn causes a better and more effective substitution method in these young adults compared to their older counterparts. According to this particular theory, aging is not a matter of failure to reload it following a decline in the number of stem cells. The number of stem cells reduces and tends to lose the capability to separate into lymphoid lineages, progenies, and myeloid lineages (Leeb, Jurger & Keener 2001, p.54). With regards to curative use of stem cells and their capacity to refill tissues and organs, a number of challenges may be witnessed, for instance, the fact that dissimilar cells may have different life cycles even though they are drawn from similar stem cells. Additionally, constant attempt to restore the somatic cells may lead to fatigue of stem cells.
A number of theories explaining the age-associated in people’s bodies have been explained and acknowledged. Recently, the stem cell premise of aging has gained much popularity with scientists and researchers. Current studies are starting to discover the processes involved in stem cell aging, specifically in adult skeletal muscle stem cells commonly referred to as satellite cells (La Madeleine 2005, p.57). Having the knowledge of age-oriented transformations of stem cells helps in comprehending the aging process itself while offering novel therapeutic challenges for improved tissue restoration. Despite the fact that accrued proof has indicated that alternations of stem cells take place in the course of aging, both extrinsic and intrinsic cellular factors in the maturing of adult stem cells are significant in age-associated phenomena (Hall 2001, p.60).
Stem cell theory of cancer
Interestingly, study has revealed that cancer cells are not at all similar in any way. This means that within the circulating cancerous cells of leukemia or a malignant tumor, there exist different forms of cells. The stem cell hypothesis of cancer suggests that amongst these cancerous cells, a few serve as stem cells that are able to replicate themselves and prolong the cancer (Brown 2006, p.66). Cancer cells that are not stem cells can bring about issues, but cannot maintain an attack on a person’s body over the long term. The fact that this particular theory argues that cancer is mainly motivated by minor populations of stem cells has had significant implication. For instance, it implies that the cancer stem cells that bring about metastases can also be a store of cancer cells that would eventually cause a reversion after surgery, chemotherapy, or radiation. The cancer stem cell theory is therefore focused on how cancers come about. Notably, it proposes that cancer stem cells are derived out of ordinary stem cells or the originator cells that ordinary stem cells generate (Jiang, Jahagirdar &Keene 2002, p.74). Some researchers argue that cancerous cells are similar to a distortion of ordinary cells which tend to show numerous similar characteristics as regular tissues, but are distorted in some way. If this is the case, then companies such as the ABC can use what they know about regular stem cells to spot and assault cancer stem cells as well as the nasty cells they create.
Ethical issues in stem cell research. In the past few years, embryonic stem cell study has posed an ethical predicament, especially since it forces people to decide between two ethical principles. These principles are the obligation to eliminate or lessen suffering or the obligation to value the worth of human life (Evans 2005, p.). In the case of this kind of investigation, it is impossible to respect both of these moral philosophies. On the one hand, obtaining embryonic stem cells means early termination of the embryo and the destruction of a budding human life. Conversely, embryonic stem cell investigation could result in the unearthing of novel medical treatments that would lessen the anguish of numerous individuals (DeCamp & Sugarman 2004, p.83). Companies using gene therapy techniques such as Company ABC should remember that the main purpose of ethics is to identify principles of right action that can direct them in thinking about what they may do, what they must do, and what they must refrain from doing. Although knowledge gained form the inherent sciences help researchers and scientists think through what they should do and be, they do not necessarily offer answers to their moral questions, nor offer any expertise for thinking about them.
The question of the honorable position of the embryo is perhaps the most debated and the most significant of all claims. Proponents of embryonic stem cell exploration believe that the initial embryo lacks the features and properties that define human personhood and human being (Steinbrook 2006, p.85). Furthermore, this particular embryo does not have the appearance of a fully grown human being, and it cannot survive on its own. Most importantly, it is not yet self-aware. If viewed from this perspective, then the first embryo might be treated as any other piece of tissue. Contrarily, challengers of the stem cell research dispute that it is not only dangerous but wrong to suggest that a right to life and human dignity attach only to those human organisms that satisfy a given criteria (Penning & Steirtghem 2004, p.94). Furthermore, majority of the disabled or sick individuals also tend to lack such capacities. Opponents also suggest that the standard position of both conventional and modern embryology states that a human life starts at the fertilization phase. For those who view the embryo as no more than a clump of cells, the main ethical concern with respect to stem cell research would be obtaining permission from embryo donors. On the other hand, those who see embryos as human beings are ethically concerned that the destruction of these embryos for stem cell study would be considered an infringement of the basic duty not to kill (Curzer 2004, p.95).
Quantitative Research Method. The most suitable research method to be applied in this case study by Company ABC would be quantitative research method. This is because it is able to calculate the issue by generating numerical information or facts that can be changed into useable information (Kass 2002, p.97). Since the issue of stem cell research is somewhat controversial, using quantitative research method would mean the quantification of attitudes, opinions, actions and other defined variables while generalizing outcomes from a larger sample population. Company ABC can use quantitative research method to formulate facts regarding stem cell research and gene therapy technique, and uncover patterns in the research. Notably, information can be collected through online surveys, personal interviews, systematic observations, or questionnaires.
Research Steps to ensure the research is ethical. There are certain steps that Company ABC should undertake in order to ensure that their research is ethical. First and foremost, it is important for the Company to understand the project and what is to be done. Secondly, the researchers need to have some knowledge on stem cell research and gene therapy technique. They should then come up with a search strategy where they will know what types of stem cells they will use and where they will source them from. The researchers should also adhere to any ethical and legal regulations required for a stem cell research and gene therapy technique (Holland, Lebacqz & Zoloth 2001, p.98). Careful evaluation and follow-ups are necessary in the course of the research for future reference. If there are a few laboratory assistants who may have moral or ethical concerns regarding this approach, then the company’s management should ensure that they explain the benefits of using stem cell research and the production of the gene therapy technique in the control of the development of microcephaly in unborn babies. They should also explain to these employees the benefits that such research will bring to pregnant women who have been infected with the Zika virus.
Recommendations. Looking at what has been discussed above, it is clear that Company ABC needs to consider several factors before undertaking its gene therapy experiment for instance the type of stem cells to use and where to source them from. It is recommended that they use cell lines that by now exist as this is so far the most extensively acknowledged source of stem cells. This argument is also founded on the premise that what is done, is done. Even if collecting the embryos could initially be considered ethically controversial, nothing can be done to set aside the initial embryos from which the lines were formed (Green 2001, p.100). Company ABC should keep in mind that sourcing these stem cells bring in the legal requirements and the ethical view that will shift according to the organizational culture. A protocol should also be set up to formulate the research design and this can be done by having the research methodology and formatting reviewed by a professional.
Following the unique regenerative capabilities, stem cells tend to offer new opportunities for treatment of illnesses such as diabetes and heart diseases. Today, scientists are using stem cells in the lab to monitor latest drugs while at the same time build up model systems to research regular growth, and determine the causes of birth defects. With regards to stem cell research, Company ABC should consider how their ethical judgments connected to biomedical research will reflect on and fashion their character as individuals and as a community. Additionally, there is need for further research into how researchers and scientists can go about completely eliminating the Zika virus in pregnant women through stem cell research and gene therapy techniques. Those who wish to undertake such projects should consider the advantages and limitations associated with this particular approach in order to better improve the lives of individuals globally suffering from conditions and illnesses that may benefit from stem cell research.
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