Immortality touches the subject of many fiction and non-fiction pieces. Ancient mythology, olden folklore, and modern obra maestras have allowed the notion of ‘forever’ to tickle the imagination of fans and skeptics alike. Then again, maybe it has never been a question of how long we wish to live, or if humans do desire to live until the end of time. Rather, the more obvious question might just be: do you want to be young forever?
The sheer number of advertisements promising age-defying or age-reversing results flood our media. We live in an age where man’s vanity is a double-edged blade; health is wealth, and beauty is duty. Possibly, with stem cell research arriving at more results favoring both the external and internal well-being, we may just be working closer towards a seemingly eternal youth.
So, what exactly is a stem cell? To the scientifically familiar ones, a stem cell is an undifferentiated biological cell capable of mitosis. In layman’s terms, it is a healthy cell that will merely duplicate itself; these copies eventually turn into an adult tissue, tissues then form an organ.
Since its birth and discovery, stem cell therapy has been quite controversial, with people questioning and debating the very ethics of its existence. The publicity surrounding it has also gained notoriety in the recent years. This is especially true with celebrities patronizing this method to thwart aging and act as a miracle cure-all for their bone-tired bodies.
Of all the stem cell therapies, one of the most controversial is the liver stem cell therapy, since this often requires the involvement of embryonic cells. For these to be harvested, human embryos are ‘cultured’ and grown in a laboratory environment, a set-up for optimum development. There is a clear divide, as there are some who are against the idea of man playing God: where humans are made for another’s medicinal purposes or beauty regimen. Yet, there are others who deem it best to sustain life that already exists.
Promising cures and discoveries of stem cell research are faced with several different views. True, ethical issues will always draw a line between two sides with clearly one goal in mind: to protect, and in doing so, celebrate life.
As it is near impossible to argue and win both sides of the stem cell debate, one merely has to consider that any advancement comes not without a sacrifice. If we look beyond beauty preservation, or far above man’s desire to sate vanity’s whims, it must be noted how stem cell therapy may be the one thing that can add life to the years aging us dry. After all, what is more beautiful than to protect a life that is already in full bloom?
Perhaps, now is the best time to ask: have we discovered the fountain of life?