DOH: Stem cell therapy not yet proven to be curative

by Buena Bernal Posted on 07/06/2013 4:28 PM |Updated 07/08/2013 2:16 PM

STEM CELLS. Health Secretary Enrique Ona says stem cell therapy is a procedure still under clinical evaluation and study. Photo by Rappler/Naoki Mengua

MANILA, Philippines (UPDATED) Amid increasing interest in and the risks of stem cell treatment in the country, the health secretary said doctors are required to disclose to their potential patients that the procedure is still "investigative" its potential is still being explored, and there's no definite word that it can heal diseases.

This is in line with the ethical standards of medical practice that seek to empower patients with enough information prior to consenting to the treatment.

The patient must exactly know that he is part of an investigative process. And that is what we require as far as the Department of Health is concerned right now, Department of Health (DOH) Secretary Enrique Ona said in an interview with Rappler on Friday, July 5.

Stem cell therapy or regenerative medicine is the use of the bodys repair cells as a substitute to old cells that may cause debilitating diseases.

(READ: 6 things you need to know about stem cell therapy)

The treatment has gained controversy of late, after 3 unnamed high-profile politicians allegedly died due to botched procedures performed abroad. The deaths are currently being investigated by the Philippine Medical Association (PMA).

Not to stifle innovation

So why is the DOH encouraging the development of the science despite the treatment being under clinical evaluation and study?

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DOH: Stem cell therapy not yet proven to be curative

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