Medical Council okays 11 stem-cell studies

Home national Medical Council okays 11 stem-cell studies

Health

Chularat Saengpassa, Pongphon Sarnsamak The Nation October 23, 2012 7:38 pm

But the council has approved only 11 studies, which will include research into the most common diseases such as diabetes, arthritis, retina irregularities and the spinal chord, Dr Somsak Lohlekha, who chairs the council's stem-cell research regulatory panel, said.

Separately, the council has been asked to certify two other studies related to heart disease as standard treatment, but it has put them on hold due to opposition from Thailand's Royal College of Physicians and Royal College of Surgeons.

"These two medical colleges found that patients with heart disease did not feel any better after getting stem-cell injections," Somsak said.

Moreover, stem-cell treatment for heart disease had yet to be accepted by the international medical community as standard treatment.

"We found that many patients spent more than a million baht for this treatment and their condition did not improve," he said.

Of the 11 stem-cell studies approved by the council, one is being conducted at the Police General Hospital. The research team, led by Pol.Mai.Gen Dr Thana Turajane, has succeeded in developing adult stem cells derived from blood that can develop into cartilage tissue and be used to treat arthritis. It can also be used to culture a new set of stem cells.

Thana and his team had to wait more than nine months for a go-ahead from the Medical Council. In their application, they included a report on animal trials done by a Malaysian university to show that the use of stem cells was safe.

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Medical Council okays 11 stem-cell studies

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