Solon urges probe on the status of stem cell therapy in the country

QUEZON CITY Rep. Winston “Winnie” Castelo Is calling for a congressional investigation on the present status of stem cell therapy in the country.

In House Resolution 2642, Castelo (2nd District, Quezon City) said there is a need to know if there are already evidence and data to prove that such treatment works on a per disease basis.

“We also have to find out what attendant ethical issues surrounding this regenerative medicine are there, if any, and whether certain regulations have to be prescribed against the stem cell bank and procedures and clinical applications,” Castelo said.

Stem cell treatment, according to Wikipedia, is a type of intervention strategy that introduces new adult stem cells into damaged tissue in order to treat disease or injury.

Stem cell therapy has gained wider public attention following the revelations of well-known political personalities and show business celebrities who have availed of the benefits of this regenerative medicine.

“With the latest discoveries in regenerative medicine, it would seem that life expectancy in dreaded conditions is held in abeyance, many illnesses are being treated with a wide range of treatments available through stem cell therapy,” Castelo said.

Castelo said the introduction of stem cell treatments has opened the doors for certain concerns like the apparently unregulated environment by which these “stem cells” are sourced or shipped and the procedures or clinical applications by which said “master cells” are being injected which costs from P800,000 to a million.

Castelo said that even if there are already reputable hospitals into stem cell therapy such as the Medical City and the National Kidney & Transplant Institute and others, it is still of doubtful validity whether other hospitals or medical clinics can go into this regenerative medicine program with the full consent of DoH or the FDA.

Castelo also cast doubts whether these hospitals or medical clinics can manage the proper collection, banking, custody, transit, handling, processing, and administration and generation of these stem cells or master cells consistent with a plan of care suited for a patient and his or her medical circumstances.

Castelo said the DoH should be directed, in coordination with other related agencies, to conduct an evaluative study and come up with a scheme of accreditation on hospitals or medical clinics in terms of their facilities, laboratories, equipment, and their consultants into stem cell therapy or personalized molecular medicine precisely  to validate if this tissue engineering has already passed the required scientific tests and clinical trials or international benchmark and no longer mere science fiction.

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