In The Know: Stem cell therapy

Philippine Daily Inquirer

Former President and current Pampanga Rep. Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo, who was suffering from a mineral deficiency in her bones arising from two corrective surgeries last September, wanted to seek alternative stem cell therapy abroad.

However, she was barred from leaving the country last November after Justice Secretary Leila de Lima refused to honor the temporary restraining order issued by the high court on the inclusion of Arroyo and her husband Jose Miguel Mike Arroyo in the immigration bureaus watch list.

In the wake of Arroyos supposed plan to try the radical technology at stem cell centers abroad to cure what her doctors here described as a rare bone disease, a province mate and a colleague of the former President filed a bill to put up a stem cell center in the country.

Pampanga Rep. Carmelo F. Lazatin, a member of the minority bloc in Congress, has filed House Bill No. 5287 mandating the establishment of a research facility to explore the benefits of stem cell technology as a potential cure for incurable diseases.

Blank cells

Stem cells, the foundation of every organ, tissue and cell within the human body, are like blank cells that do not yet have a specific physiological function, according to Harvard Stem Cell Institute (HSCI).

But when proper conditions in the body or in the laboratory occur, stem cells develop into specialized tissues and organs, HSCI explains in its website, adding that there are two sources of stem cells used in research: the adult stem cells and embryonic stem cells.

Adult stem cells are found in differentiated tissues and organs throughout the body while embryonic stem cells are obtained from the inner cell mass of a blastocyst, the ball of cells formed when the fertilized egg or zygote divides and forms two cells, then again to form four and so on, HSCI said.

In 2008, the Vatican issued a sweeping document on bioethical issues titled Dignitas Personae or The Dignity of the Person, taking into account recent developments in biomedical technology and reinforcing the Churchs opposition to embryonic stem cell research, in vitro fertilization, human cloning and genetic testing on embryos before implantation.

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In The Know: Stem cell therapy

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