DOH to issue guidelines on stem cell treatment in Philippines

By: Philippine News Agency November 11, 2012 8:29 AM

Stem cell tray. FILE PHOTO FROM AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE/GETTY IMAGES The online news portal of TV5

MANILA - The Department of Health (DOH) is expected to come up with the guidelines on the practice of stem cell treatment in the Philippines by the end of the month.

According to DOH Secretary Enrique Ona, the consultative working task force has already been convened to formulate recommendations on how to handle the growing popularity of stem cell technology among Filipinos.

Ona said that at present, stem cell therapy is still considered as an investigational intervention and there is still no scientific evidence about its efficacy, safety and quality.

Stem cell research employs both autologous (from same person) or allogenic (from another organism like animal or another human cell or tissue sample) method. Because there are many steps in the preparation of this lab and invasive procedure, there is therefore need to have a regulatory framework to protect Filipino citizens, he said.

Ona ordered the creation of the task force after observing the growing number of healthcare facilities that offer stem cell services. He was also concerned about the possible use of aborted fetuses or human embryos for the procedures.

The task force is composed of Food and Drug Administration acting director Dr. Kenneth Hartigan-Go, Philippine Council for Health Research and Development director Dr. Jaime Montoya, and scientists from the University of the Philippines National Institute of Health and Marine Science.

It will come up with regulatory framework covering five fundamental areas, namely: sources of raw stem cell materials; observance of good laboratory practices in the preparation of the tissue and the cells; credentialing of scientists involved in the technology; monitoring of marketing claims; and regulation or accreditation of facilities.

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DOH to issue guidelines on stem cell treatment in Philippines

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