March 15, 2012
Dear Mr. President,
My name is Stephen. I am a student at Parkway West Middle School, and I am writing you today to share my thoughts about embryonic stem cell research. I searched in Google for a commentary topic I could write about in my communication arts class when I came upon stem cell research. As I delved into this topic, I started to realize the great potential of embryonic stem cells. In my research, I found that many countries and religions reject embryonic stem cell research. This is an issue because hundreds of currently untreatable diseases could be treated, but the only argument the opposition has is easily refutable. We should revolutionize medicine by accepting embryonic stem cell research.
Firstly, embryonic stem cells are superior to adult stem cells. Embryonic stem cells can turn into all types of cells, while adult stem cells can only turn into cells from the tissue which they were extracted from. Embryonic cells are easily obtained and grown in culture while the adult stem cells are very hard to find in mature tissue, and there hasn't been a way to grow them in culture well. This shows it is much more efficient and practical to use embryonic stem cells than adult stem cells. Embryonic stem cells are the best option. Lian Fang Zhang, a researcher at the University of California San Diego, says, "Every [adult stem] cell we looked at, we found single [genetic letter] mutations in the protein coding region, an average of six mutations per cell line." These mutations have been linked to cancer. Clearly, adult stem cells may cause cancer, which makes them more dangerous and limited than embryonic stem cells. Would you rather use embryonic stem cells which are easier to get and multiply, or adult stem cells that are limited, hard to obtain, and dangerous? Embryonic stem cell research should be accepted because embryonic stem cells are superior to adult stem cells, which shows it is the best option for stem cell therapies.
Furthermore, many people argue that using embryos in stem cell research should be considered as abortion, which, many of these same people argue, is "killing a person" and unethical. They believe embryos are living beings at the point of conception. This argument is completely illogical because embryos cannot be considered as a life since it can still split into twins or become one with another embryo. Since embryos can become a life, half a life, or even two lives, it can only be considered a potential life. Also, life can start either when heartbeat develops or the brain begins developing activity, not at conception, which is what most groups who oppose embryonic stem cell research believe. Heartbeat develops five weeks into pregnancy, and brain activity begins to develop 54 days after conception. In addition, embryos left over from in vitro fertilization are to be destroyed anyways, so why not use them for research? Every year 70,000 embryos are left over in Australia, and 1.2 million embryos were unused in the United Kingdom in a fourteen-year period. Not only that, altered nuclear transfer (ANT) is an alternative that creates the equivalent of human embryonic stem cells without destroying, damaging, or using human embryos. Embryonic stem cell research should be accepted because the research does not kill people, in fact it will help people, and there should be no reason that its progress should be hindered.
I understand you already support stem cell research and lifted the ban issued my former President Bush, but I believe you can help further the research. As president, you can push Congress to decrease restrictions and increase funding.
I want to thank you for taking the time to read this letter. You have already done so much for this nation, and I know you can do more. I hope you will continue to support stem cell research.
Parkway West Middle School
Saint Louis, Missouri
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