Thursday, February 18, 2010

Streamline stem cell treatment: Expert

PANAJI: There is a need to regulate stem cells that are injected into a patient's body and used in therapy, said International Stemcell Services Limited chairman Dr S G A Rao.

Speaking to the media on the sidelines of the sixth annual conference on biotechnology organized by Society for Regenerative Medicine and Tissue Engineering on Sunday, Rao said that stem cell treatment in India needs to come under a regulatory framework.

"It is only the guidelines have been formulated. But till they are incorporated into an Act, there will be no checks on stem cell treatment in the country. If someone has a complaint, the government has no power to act on it", said Rao.

Incidentally, stem cell treatments are a type of therapy that introduce new cells into damaged tissue to treat a disease or injury. Stem cell banks store blood and frozen tissue samples for research and surgery.

Recently, an Indian doctor had come under fire for making claims of treating incurable or terminal illnesses using embryonic stem cells without any safety trials and randomized clinical studies. It was claimed that she had been charging as much as 30,000 pounds for a course of treatment.

In another instance, an ophthalmologist from South India collected 5 ml blood from the patient's arm, and claimed to separate the stem cells and inject the same back into the patient.

"Such quacks, who charge exorbitant prices for unproven and dangerous treatment, survive as there are no regulations. There are no stem cells in the blood," said Dr Rao.

Over the last few years, India has witnessed a tremendous growth in the stem cell business. Apart from many foreign companies, the industry has witnessed the mushrooming of small domestic players.

No comments:

Post a Comment