Stem Cells -- Sorting Through the Hype and Hope

Share Article offers facts on stem cells.

Stem cells -- do they represent medical miracles or a breach of medical ethics? A new article explains the role of stem cells, why there is significant interest in using them for research and why their use generates controversy.

Stem cells are considered the body's master cells, from which all other cells develop. Because of this unique role, researchers hope that manipulating stem cells will result in new treatments and cures for Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injuries, cancer, birth defects and other serious medical conditions.

The controversy about their use comes from one of the sources of stem cells used for research: human embryos. Extracting embryonic stem cells destroys the embryos.

The article includes frequently asked questions -- and answers -- about:

  • The four sources of stem cells
  • Why embryonic stem cell research is controversial
  • Advantages and limitations of the different stem cell types
  • How stem cell therapy works
  • The current limitations of federal funding in embryonic stem cell research
  • Why researchers want to expand stem cell research

Using stem cells in health care is not a new idea. Stem cell transplants, also known as bone marrow transplants, have been used to treat leukemia and other conditions since the 1960s. These adult stem cells come from the patient's or a donor's bone marrow.

For more information about stem cells, visit


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Ginger Plumbo
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