WHAT ARE STEM CELLS:
Stem cells can be defined as unspecialized cells that they possess an ability to divide and create a copies of themselves. They have potential to differentiate and produce other human cell types in the body. Stem cells are mostly found in multicellular organism possessing their self renewing and cloning capability. On the basis of potency they can be categorized as totipotent, pluripotent and multipotent.
Stem cells have proved that they have great therapeutic potential in replacing traditional ways of treatment in different disorder like cancer, aplastic anemia, heart disorder and stroke.
IMPORTANCE OF STEM CELL RESEARCH:
The main target of human embryonic stem cell research is to identify the cells that governs the differentiate and turn HESC into specific cell type that can be used in the treatment of many life threatening disease and injuries like Parkinson’s disease, Alzheimer’s disease, birth deficits, spinal cord injuries, replace or repair damage organ, reduced risk of transplantation.
The main purpose of human stem cells research are genetic disorder modeling and stem cell based human therapies and also in tissues and organ transplantation because of having this differential ability to producing other cell type, they are also used in the regenerative medicines. embryonic stem cell in the comparison with stem cell that are derived from adult cells have enormous therapeutic potential to transform every cell type in human body for this purpose many researcher have been interested to study embryonic stem cell.
WHAT IS STEM CELL RESEARCH?
Stem cell research is basically used to investigate the cells which may develop into an organism. These cells are grown in different laboratories where tests are carried out to investigate the fundamental properties of cells.
ETHICAL CONSIDERATION OF STEM CELL:
The controversy surrounding stem cells lead to an intense debate about ethics. The ethical implications of stem cells are somewhat complex and controversial. The new political and ethical challenges have emerged after the discovery of multipotent stem cells like human embryonic stem cells in the stem cells research.
From the point of securing stem cells for implantation traditionally, first in human being and then clinically proceeding can develop variety of risk, uncertainty and problems related to entire research.
Some of the most silent ethical changes of stem cell research include moral status and respect for human life (destruction of embryo).
• Respect for human life:
Human life requires some respect through the human embryo. Destruction of embryo during the process of stem cell research would be considered as violation of some principle ethically.
The most strong argue concern about the recreation of embryo for research purpose which may lead to desensitization of human life and potentially uncontrolled instrumentalization of human life. So that the most of research argue in the unethical killing of innocent embryo represents a way of showing respects for human life.
• Moral status of human embryo:
Let’s consider a 5- day human embryo is a human being the critic considers that embryo has a right not to be killed. The opposition lightened the view on the moral status of the human being. Some other also consider the embryos will be used just as a cell mass having no more value than a biological cell or tissue. So the most basic argument is that embryo should be considered as a valued human being through the stages of development.
STATUS OF STEM CELL RESEARCH IN PAKISTAN:
Pakistan also making efforts in the establishment of this field to get desired benefits related to it but the progress is either very slow or government does not play a significant role along with private sector Pakistan is very less in status as compared to other developing countries. Pakistan has published 37 articles based on the research but the total number of publication is still very less as compared to turkey and Iran. Pakistan also very less number of institute working in this area of research.
• RESEARCH PROJECT RELATED TO STEM CELL IN PAKISTAN:
Recently, Pakistan has approved many research projects on stem cell. For example Dr Asmat Saleem doing research on preconditioned and modified mesenchymal cells in regeneration of cardiac tissue. Another project done Faridoon Jawad Ahmed on the development of stem cell therapy for the patient suffering from heart diseases. Some other projects are still ongoing in collaboration of American and European universities.
• STEM CELL INSTITUTE IN PAKISTAN:
There is no specific center that fully identified as stem cell research but several institute in Pakistan still works on the stem cell research. The major center in Pakistan working in the area of stem cell includes:
? Center Of Excellence In Molecular Biology (CEMB)
? Center Of Advance Molecular Biology (CAMB)
? Dr Punjwani Center For Molecular Medicine And Drug Research
? Shahid Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute Of Science And Technology (SZABIST)
? Lohore Institute Of Management Science (LUMBS)
? Agha Khan University (AKU)
STEM CELL RESEARCH IN PAKISTAN:
Many program related to stem cell are also established in Pakistan for thalassemia, aplastic anemia and allogenic transplantation many activities have been done on the treatment of myeloma and lymphoma. Certain stem cell transplantation also used to treat the fetal hematological disease. Certain stem cell therapy also started in the patient of AML (acute myeloid leukemia) and in allogenic BMT ( bone marrow transplantation).
ISLAMIC IDEOLOGY WITH RESPECT TO STEM CELL AND ORGAN DONATION:
The Islamic ethical principal is highlighted in shariaa. Islam always encouraged research related to or finding the cure for diseases but some religious ethics also noticed in the advancement of new therapies. Embryo research has been influence by religious, social and many cultural opinion when the human life is about to begin.
In the Holy Quran, all the stages from early development of fetus till the adulthood have been carefully and uniquely mentioned. But some questions have been arise whether we are allowed to destroyed the one life (destruction of embryo) in order to save another life? Producing the embryo for research purpose is illegal. In addition ensoulment occurs at 120 days of fertilization. In Islamic opinion, embryo in the presoulment phase is alive and elimination of embryo is sin and considered as a criminal action.
• ORGAN DONATION:
In Islam there is a different verdict based on major organ an minor organ. The Islam has allowed to donate minor organ but not major organ. Another opinion is that it is permissible to donate some of the organ (i.e. donating blood, skin drafting and bone marrow transplants) would be considered as a minor organ. However the kidney is classified as a major organ ad would not be permissible for donation.