DOH asks people to be cautious of stem cell therapies

October 19, 2012 10:27 pm 

MANILA, Oct. 19 — Health Secretary Enrique Ona on Friday said the department will soon issue guidelines for the use of stem cell therapy and the process of licensing facilities due to the proliferation of small shops offering such services.

“In the Philippines, there is observed proliferation of ‘centers’ offering stem cell treatments for medical and aesthetic purposes. Although this technology holds promise, stem cell therapy is not yet part of standard of care,” Ona said in an advisory.

He advised the public to avoid procedures that use stem cells from aborted fetuses, embryos, genetically-altered and animal fresh cells.

The health chief added that applications of stem cells for the treatment of malignancies, blood disorders, degenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s Disease, metabolic diseases like diabetes, and immune cell therapy are still under clinical evaluation and study.

While research has shown that “adult stem cells and umbilical cord stem cells are the safest and most ethical” sources of stem cells, Ona warned that “claims of preventive and curative benefits of stem cell therapy are still on their investigative stage.”

“Thus, the Department of Health (DOH) advises the public to be cautious with stem cell therapies being promoted in the media or through word of mouth,” he said.

According to Ona, the DOH and the Food and Drug Administration are now drafting standards and regulations to ensure the safety of the public as well as address ethical concerns regarding the use of stem cells in research and medicine.(PNA)

PDS/SC/UTB

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