Scientists now growing second chances

Human embryonic stem cells are a topic of research that is far more held back in this country than it should be. They hold so much potential for new ground-breaking treatments in medicine, so many cures for otherwise crippling conditions that it surprises, nay, disgusts me that we as a society have not yet advanced our scientific understanding along that particular path of research. People argue that it is immoral to tamper with a human embryo, that destroying a simple cluster of ungrown cells is akin to killing a life, even though so many people could be saved if we just lift off the red tape that’s been clogging new and exciting avenues of medicine.
Take nerve cells, for example. Our bodies are full of them, and they really are what makes us us. Neither our brains nor our bodies can function without them, and yet whenever they are damaged, they can take decades to repair themselves, if they even repair at all. If we could grow and transplant live and working nerve cells into people, victims of conditions from strokes to paralysis could enjoy life injury free, rather than be constrained by the damage that has been wrought on their bodies. But that’s impossible, you say. How are we going to find those nerve cells? Grow them in a lab like some strange lifesaving mould? That’s when I would say you were wrong. That’s when I would say that that is exactly what scientists in Finland have done, just this very year.
A team of researchers has actually managed to grow nerve cells on the top of a gel, like bacteria. To be completely honest, they grew inside of and underneath the gel as well, but the ones on top are in the kind of condition that would make them perfect for transplanting into a ready and waiting paraplegic. And how did they do this? Embryonic stem cells. That type of cell that has so many religious and ethics groups up in a fuss has successfully been grown like a fungus into the very constituents of your brain and nervous system, using a simple hydrogel. A hydrogel is simply a kind of hyper absorbent plastic, and scientists now have working, living, breathing nerve cells growing atop of it. The potential that human embryonic stem cells hold is not a thing of the far future, it is happening right now, and as soon as these lab-grown nerve cells can be successfully transplanted into patients, we as a species need never fear the trappings of nerve damage ever again

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