White Paper – Bill Brooks

Topic Background Information (embryonic stem cell research):

First passed in 1996, the Dickey-Wicker Amendment prohibited any federal funding to research which destroyed human embryos.  In response to this amendment was the famous Sherley v. Sebelious case which used a two-step approach, called a “Chevron” approach to determine if the amendment was reasonable and lawful.  The Dickey-Wicker Amendment, as well as the Sherley v. Sebelious case, seems to be well hidden by a veil of ambiguity and legal jargon which stems from the moral dilemma facing the use of human embryos in research.  President Obama’s proposal, which would move to overturn this amendment, thus allowing for the utilization of human embryos to conduct stem cell research was met with heavy criticism and viewed skeptically under the pretense that viable stem cell research can be conducted without the use of embryos.

However, in this paper I will show that stem cells derived from human embryos are not only more easily accessible but also yield a higher potential for research capabilities.  My sources confirm that embryonic stem cell research is currently the most reliable means in the field of regenerative medicine including many types of cancers, neurological diseases, spinal injuries as well as even regeneration of lost limbs.  Many of the lawmakers have only noted the seeming gruesome nature of the field while overlooking the obvious benefits.  Stem cells have been proven to have the ability to rejuvenate damaged tissue as well as the creation of entirely new tissues and it is widely believed that these methods are superior to conventional methods because they carry a far less mild “risk-benefit profile”.

Effectiveness of Embryonic stem cells:

The effectiveness of ES cells can no longer be argued, it has been proven countless times that embryonic stem cells have the unique ability to regenerate damaged or lost tissues.  By placing these stem cells near the damaged or missing tissue, the patient’s DNA takes over the blank cell and instructs it to duplicate the surrounding cells with surprising accuracy.  Embryonic stem cells are the most effective type of stem cells because they are able to duplicate any and all cells from any tissue in the body, including neural tissue which was previously thought to be impossible.  In the nearly two decades since the ban was placed on this type of research regenerative medicine has made huge leaps in bounds in both technology and practical application of medical knowledge, the potential of ES cells is truly limitless.

Why Use Embryonic Cells:

There are many innovative ways to derive stem cells from tissues, including the derivation of cells from the living host, these methods are allowed according to the Dickey-Wicker Amendment but are not as effective as the derivation of cells from an embryo.  These methods are considered moral because they do not destroy any tissue, coinciding with a crucial pillar of medicine which is “Primum non nocere” or “first do no harm”.  However, embryonic stem (ES) cells are different from other stem cells in that they are far more pluripotent, in that they are able to give rise to all types of tissues across all three germ layers when allowed to differentiate.  Other methods are harvesting stem cells do not yield these results and are therefore inferior to embryonic harvest.


Counterintuitivity Note:

The counterintuitive nature of the stem cell debacle is the fact that just because one stage of the research process destroys an embryo, it is not given adequate funding despite the potential to save millions of lives.  Due to ill-informed congressmen involved and outdated morality we allow millions to die.  It is counterintuitive that a deceased “human” embryo, which will be disposed of regardless, is protected in such a way that allows countless other humans to live with limited mobility or on the edge of impending death.


Results of Unjust Laws and Skewed Morality:

As I touched on earlier, the main reason for which embryonic stem cell research has been dismissed is the moral factor of using human derived cells.  Not given the proper tools to evaluate the science behind this type of research, many reject embryonic stem cell research because it involves destroying a human embryo.  However according to current abortion laws an embryo is not living and its role in research this may lead to saving lives.  Embryonic stem cell research is viewed in an immoral light because its benefits versus moral implications have not been accurately evaluated.

Potential Uses of Embryonic Stem Cells:

According to US News Health, there is an incredible range of diseases and ailments that stem cells stand to cure in the very near future.  Among these is heart disease which is currently the number one cause of death in this country.  Also listed are diabetes, lung diseases and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrig’s disease).  Given the funding this field of regenerative medicine stands to cure or ease the burdens of almost everything ranging from arthritis to severe and debilitating spinal cord injuries.

Topics for Smaller Papers:

There are a few different directions that I could go with this, one of which is examine purely the argument whether or not destroying an embryo is destroying a human juxtaposed to the abortion laws which do not consider an embryo living.  Another approach for a smaller paper is narrowing down my argument as purely moral or purely scientific.  One other paper might be detailing the legal issues this type of research has faced.

Current State of the Research Paper:

My research paper is still mainly in the research phase, as there is so much conflicting information on the topic and I discover something new nearly every time I do more research.  I do have the general format of my paper figured out which will flow from background information, to the legality of it, examining the morality of it briefly before delving into the necessity of embryonic stem cell research, noting the many diseases it stands to cure and why it is superior to other methods.  I also still need more information on the legal side of things.

Pending your feedback I will start the full paper.  As of now I have very few subtopics compared to the polio white paper but I will expand upon these thoroughly, I have tried to avoid “fluff” material which gave me a little less volume.  I can howver always add more subtopics in exchange for some depth if that would be better.

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12 Responses to White Paper – Bill Brooks

  1. aimelonsdorf says:

    I think that you need to watch out for bias opinions in your research as opposed to actual facts; i think you need have a good paper going!

    GREAT job!

  2. tonyshilling says:

    The real main issue I find with this (beyond the topic, but that’s a different argument) is the relevance of evidence in “skepticism,” or lack there of really. You sum up the reasoning for being against the idea of embryo usage to ignorance and the belief that they do not work; we know they work in some cases, that is not a debate. But ignorance certainly is not a player; Conservative and Christian groups have the issue with the fact that scientists and researchers ARE using a human embryo; it can be compared to abortion, is what they would suggest. If you want to forgo their side of the situation, fine, there isn’t anything wrong there. But if you’re going to address “skepticism,” you need to make it more relevant, and fair quite frankly.

  3. jahne92 says:

    Your evidence that is supporting your claims will be good especially because you are talking about the amendment and the court case. Those will provide you with a lot of information on your topic and it will give you the opposing arguments too which you can use I am not sure how you can, but I’m sure you would be able to figure that out. I am not sure if you have discussed how the whole process of stem cell research, or how you would use stem cell research also, but you might want to go into that too. I am wondering if you have other sufficient sources besides the amendment and the court case, I am not sure what kind of information that this topic may have that would include encyclopedias, but if they do have like a medical encyclopedia you could also use something like that. I am not sure why if it can benefit us so much then why would we not use stem cells if it can help with diseases such as diabetes, lung disease, and ALS which are diseases that affect many people. I am not sure what our current policy is that is opposing stem cells like if we don’t use stem cells what would we use, so you might want to compare and contrast the stem cells and the other method we are currently using.

  4. joeymleczko says:

    Sufficient –
    As we said in class, providing more information why embryonic stem cell research is unique and cannot be achieved in any other way will help your argument. Personally, I completely agree with everything you’re trying to prove, and I know the information is out there to be found.

    Typicality –
    Distinguishing between the embryonic stem cells and the adult stem cells will be important to your argument. Providing information, explaining that embryonic research clearly has more benefits than adult stem cells and has distinct differences will help support your argument.

    Accuracy –
    I have no problem with the information you have given so far; however, providing the claims you have made with actual research evidence will substantiate your claims as accurate. From the point of view of someone with no prior knowledge of stem cell research and the different types, I would not really know if what you say here is solid information.

    Relevance –
    It is definitely relevant to distinguish why embryonic stem cells are the best option for society to pursue. In a country where heart disease is so popular, along with cancer, and other “tissue affecting” diseases, proving just how relevant this research is, is absolutely necessary. Specific cases of tissue regrowth will be relevant to help you prove your argument. There can be no argument against its ability to work if you provide “miracle cases” that can become more common with the legalizing of federal funding to the research.

  5. dalehamstra27 says:

    Sufficiency – I believe that you provide sufficient evidence for your paper, and the evidence you cite is more than enough to prove that stem cell research is beneficial
    Typicality – From what you have provided it seems that the results are typical
    Accuracy – the accuracy of your points seems good. you’re not relying on one piece of evidence, and you compare embryonic cells to non embryonic cells.
    Relevance – The court case you mention in the first paragraph is not relevant at all, but other than that you provide relevant evidence throughout

  6. Blueitem (Jon G.) says:

    Sufficiency: Considering that a major assumption in the paper is that stem cells taken from embryos are more better than one taken from other sources, I’m not seeing much in the White Paper to support this (There is the one comment on pluropotency, but that might not be sufficient on it’s own. At the very least, some comparison with ES cells to other stem cells is needed). It seems like it should at least deserve a good amount of coverage, since this seems to be a premise your argument is founded on.

    Typicality: Since there is no actual evidence on display, this is difficult to evaluate. So long as evidence on the same topic comes to the same conclusions, you should be fine?

    Accuracy: Considering there is little actual evidence presented, this is a bit difficult to evaluate. I suppose I could question the accuracy of the predicted benefits for ES cells applied to that list of diseases you mentioned in the”potential uses” bit. That’ll need to be supported well, otherwise the logical counterargument is “Well, isn’t that just an assumption?”

    Relevance: If you’re going to argue for ES cells on a moral level, you’ll need to discuss which system of morality you’re using ( Such as Consequentialism — “the end justifies the means” , Deontology — the opposite of the previous, where intentions matter and results do not, etc.) Or even better, examine it under a few different systems of morality and see if it comes out good under all of them. Also, since many moralities are partially derived from religion (and since being against ES cell research seems to primarily be a byproduct of religion), refuting any religious arguments that you can may also help in this regard

  7. allyhodgson93 says:

    I don’t think there’s sufficient evidence to prove your point. You should look more deeply into the non-embryonic types of research and explain why it’s inferior.
    I think your paper is narrow enough but still has a deeper meaning for us to think about- whether embryos are human life forms or not and in that, whether it’s okay to destroy them. But, I like how you skip over that whole dilemma and let us decide on our own.
    I think your information is accurate but, as Professor said, I’m confused why you said you didn’t need to prove that embryonic research was the most beneficial type and then went on to try to prove it.
    I think your evidence is relevant.

  8. langer278 says:

    Sufficiency: There is sufficient evidence that embryonic cells are the very useful in regeneration. Bill makes that clear and talks about many examples of so and goes into these examples too.
    Typicality: The typicality of the paper is very good. Proving the point that that we need to put more funds into embryonic cells could change many people’s perspectives on the purpose. He seems to have a lot of research and examples of how we should do this. Changing the perception of people on this topic could further cause people to use embryonic stem cells for regeneration, and may look over the morality part of it if he can prove that it is actually not immoral in using them.
    Accuracy: He has very accurate information on the embryonic benefits, and laws and information to back up his argument. He should continue with this information more in depth and make sure it is completely accurate and find more examples to back up more on his topic.
    Relevance: The relevance of the arguments with his topics make sense. He generally touches upon most of the problems with scrutiny that he will face with using embryonic cells for regeneration. The beginning talking about the amendment that was passed seemed confusing at first, and should maybe touch more upon that and explain within his paper and how, it shouldn’t be followed upon and all. It seemed a little confusing and irrelevant at first in the beginning. He should talk more bout it.

  9. martyb68 says:

    Sufficiency: There is sufficient evidence in the world to prove that embryonic stem cells are extremely effective and helpful. He proposes evidence of stem cells helping repair tissue damage which is sufficient. Therefore he evidence is sufficient.
    Typicality: The author proposes evidence that embryonic stem cells are the most effective type of stem cells. The evidence he has provided so far and proposed to provide in the future will help prove this as well as prove that there should be no ban on embryonic stem cell research because of moral issues.
    Accuracy: The author is provided specific evidence which will help support and prove his thesis. I think his evidence so far is valid since he is proving the effectiveness of embryonic stem cell research. He also proposed to provide evidence on how the ban on stem cell research is actually not morale, since it is not moral to allow people to die or live with a bad situation that could be fixed by the stem cells of someone that is already dead. This makes his evidence accurate and helpful to make his point.
    Relevance: Yes, there will be enough evidence to prove his thesis. He will be able to find plenty of evidence on how effective embryonic stem cells are in helping people. It may be difficult for him to find sufficient evidence on how the people that have a moral issue on the research are wrong. But, with multiple sources and different examples he should be able to prove what he proposed is in fact true.

  10. apdm3 says:

    I think that there is a good amount of evidence and support for claims made throughout the paper. I do question the relevance of some items which were brought up, like the Chevron approach. I think if you went into more detail about the Sherley v. Sebelious case, then it would make what you mentioned prior more relevant to the paper. I think when you say that the effectiveness of ES cells can no longer be argued is a little too narrow, as it comes across as your opinion, rather than proven fact. It seems like the effectiveness of ES cells could be a great contribution to your paper, making it more convincing by providing evidence of all of the benefits from studies and research. One might question the accuracy of claims you make such as, “Given the funding this field of regenerative medicine stands to cure or ease the burdens of almost everything ranging from arthritis to severe and debilitating spinal cord injuries.” I think providing more information and evidence about such claims would make this claim more plausible. I like how you bring up the argument that embryonic stem cell research is superior to other methods of harvesting stem cells.

  11. oteroj40 says:

    Sufficiency of Evidence:
    You claim you have evidence that points out that stem cells derived from embryos are much more accessible than that of other variants. Be sure to effectively back up this claim. It would probably help you a great deal if you defined exactly what accessible means in terms of stem cells.
    Typicality of Evidence: Your topic and evidence are all very typical, as they are examinations of morals behind the banning of embryonic use in stem cell research. A suppose a particular case that could prove helpful would be a comparison between specific organs grown from stem cells derived from embryonic and non embryonic sources.
    Accuracy of Evidence: How does US News Health infer that stem cells could be the solution to so many diseases out there? Where are they gathering their information from? Have you gone to their sources, if any?
    Relevance of Evidence: I believe a lot of scientific reference will have to be used in this research. Non-scientific sources writing on the topic will contain emotional points and will try to skew the argument in a way that promotes a sense of disgust over something vaguely related

  12. stillt27 says:

    Sufficiency: I don’t think you evidence is sufficient enough. I think you should do deeper research about the topic to clearly discuss the Non-Embryonic cells

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