College of Arts and Sciences
Primary Subject Area
Biology, Cell; Biology, Molecular; Philosophy
stem cells, pluripotent, embryonic stem cells, induced pluripotent stem cells, stem cell research, iPSC, ESC, hiPSC, hESC
Bioethics and Medical Ethics | Medical Cell Biology | Medical Molecular Biology
Dickson, Drew, "The Pluripotency Proposition: A Biological and Ethical Case for the Utilization of hiPSCs in Place of hESCs" (2013). Senior Honors Theses. 351.
Human embryonic stem cell (hESC) research has spurred ethical controversy ever since it became feasible in 1998. The reason for this is due to the fact that hESC research requires the destruction of a human embryo, thereby causing the cessation of life for that developing human. Despite this unavoidable consequence, many advocates of hESC research hold to the belief that the embryo is not actually a human person, and therefore deem the destruction of the embryo as justifiable. Many advocates of hESC research also have pointed to the unprecedented medical potential of hESCs to argue in favor of their case. However, advocates of hESC research needlessly defend their position. This is because a new type of human stem cell with the same type of potential as hESCs was created in 2007. These new stem cells are referred to as human induced pluripotent stem cells (hiPSCs). hiPSCs are generated without the destruction of a human embryo, and thus avoid the ethical controversy associated with hESCs. Besides their ethical supremacy, hiPSCs have a biological advantage over hESCs due to their lack of immunogenicity that stems from their autological nature. This makes hiPSCs better suited for medicinal use in disease modeling, drug testing, and cell mediated therapy. These ethical and biological advantages are the reasons why hESC research should cease and hiPSCs should be utilized in their place.