Stop stem cell therapy – Doctor

Manila, Philippines -- If she would have her way, Dr. Marita V.T. Reyes, Co-Chairperson of the Philippine Health Research Ethics Board (PHREB), yesterday said she would put a stop to the medical procedure of stem cell therapy.

Reyes delivered a paper yesterday on the topic, "Ethical Consideration In Stem Cell-based Therapy and Research-Poor Countries," on the last day of the 35th Annual Scientific Meeting of the Department of Science and Technology-National Academy of Science and Technology (DOST-NAST) at the historic landmark Manila Hotel.

Reyes acknowledged that there is a "standard" stem cell therapy treatment involving "hematopoietic disorders," such as "leukemia and lymphomas," through "bone marrow or cord blood transplant."

She, however, emphasized that this cannot be said yet in the cases of diseases of the heart, eyes, diabetes, stroke, spinal cord injury, Parkinson's, Alzheimer's, Lou Gehrig's (ALS), multiple sclerosis, cancer, and cartilage repair.

Stem cell therapy for these diseases, she stressed, should be stopped.

"If I have the power, I will say, 'stop this in the meantime, until the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has come up with a quality assurance. Until the FDA is able to say that what you say is there, is there, we have no way of protecting our people," said Reyes, when asked about the ethics board's possible advice.

"So, as far as I am concerned, I would like the stem cell therapy, meaning for people who are saying they are using stem cell therapy, to stop, until we have set up very clear quality assurance (system)," the PHREB official said.

Stem cell therapy discussions resulted from the reported death of three Filipino politicians, and the complaint of a government official, after allegedly subjecting themselves from the controversial medical procedure.

Dr. Francisco Chung, Jr., of the Makati Medical Center (MMC), on the other hand, conceded that there are many stem cell procedures that are "experimental in nature."

"What we have approved clinically is bone marrow transplantation," he said, citing the approval of the United States Food and Drug Administration (USFDA).

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Stop stem cell therapy – Doctor

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