KS3/4 Science – Stem Cell Research: The Issue

Embryonic stem cells and the future of Parkinson’s Disease This programme examines the issues surrounding stem cell research.

Despite being only 39, Stephen Cuff suffers from Parkinson’s Disease. He can no longer look after his two children and basic day-to-day activities such as shaving, are near impossible. Conventional drugs have not been successful for Stephen, leaving him no option but to undergo brain surgery. Stephen’s operation is successful, but his disease isn’t cured. One potential future cure is embryonic stem (ES) cell therapy. This is being pioneered by the likes of Professor Ian Wilmut of Dolly the Sheep fame.

Prof Wilmut introduces the concept of stem cells and the science behind them, whilst presenting his opinion for the technology. Alison Davies, the chair of No Less Human, herself a wheelchair user who would refuse ES cell therapy, offers a different ethical perspective as to why ES cells shouldn’t be allowed.
There’s also the differing opinions of leading cell biologists presented at a recent stem cell conference.

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