For most of my life, my Grandma had severe health, which all started because of Addison’s disease and a failure of her adrenal glands. Because of this she had to take steroids to maintain healthy levels of cortisol. However, these steroids had various negative effects ranging from osteoporosis to diabetes. After struggling with these problems, most of my life my grandma eventually died when complications from diabetes made her blood sugar levels impossible to regulate and vital organs started to fail.
For the last several months of her life my grandma was constantly in and out of the hospital because she struggled to control her blood sugar. Several times in the middle of the night, she would wake up delirious from a dangerous drop in blood sugar and not even recognize my grandpa. He then had to call an ambulance and she would be in the hospital again for several days until the doctors regulated her blood sugar. This became increasingly difficult near the end. The last memories I have of her are talking and watching T.V. with her in hospital rooms. If their were a cure for diabetes then my final memory might be more then watching a Nathan’s hot dog eating contest on TV. She was sick and evidently suffering then but she had been for months and I couldn’t imagine her dying so suddenly after she seemed so well that day. But that’s why the blood sugar drops and spikes were so dangerous, they were unpredictable.
There is promise that these conditions could be treated by current stem cell research. With organs grown from cells donated by the recipient of the organ, all complications of rejection are removed. This could make organ transplants much more common, reducing the time spent on waiting lists and removing most of the risks. With stem cell research that could have repaired my grandma’s adrenal glands long before her serious problems started then she would never have had to take the steroids that induced so many serious health problems.
I know there are many other people who suffer these same conditions that are treatable in the near future with enough research on stem cells in the near future. Not only the people suffering from these conditions would benefit from the research but everyone that love them cares about them would benefit as well. With so much promise to save and touch lives, stem cell research is a clearly ethical choice. Research into growing custom tailored replacement organs is the key to fighting the current wave of deadly conditions from heart disease to cancer and even Addison’s disease.
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