Stem Cell Therapy Guidelines Readied

MANILA, Philippines --- The Department of Health (DOH) is preparing guidelines for the use of stem cell therapy in the treatment of diseases in the Philippines.

This was announced by DOH Secretary Enrique T. Ona yesterday in a convention on stem cell therapy at the Manila Hotel.

Ona said a bio-ethics advisory board will develop the guidelines which will include ethical standards in the application of stem cell therapy to treat diseases such as malignancies, blood disorders and metabolic disorders, among others.

"The institutional board will review and approve Stem Cell therapies based on guidelines by the advisory board," Ona said.

He added that the board will also include ethical and legal issues surrounding stem cell therapy.

Last week, the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) and the Philippine Society for Stem Cell Medicine (PSSCM) issued a joint statement that warned against the dangers of receiving stem cell transplants that came from another source other than the patient's body.

"If the stem cell that you received is not from your own body, it could lead to fatal complications," Philippine Society for Stem Cell Medicine (PSSCM) and the PMA said.

The doctors warned that complications arising from stem cell transplants include graft-versus-host disease, stem cell (graft) failure, organ injury, infections, cataracts, infertility, new cancers, and even death.

Ona said a public hearing will be held on January 18 regarding the preliminary draft of the guidelines.

He said the guidelines will ensure the minimum quality of service and application in the use of stem cells in health settings.

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Stem Cell Therapy Guidelines Readied

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