Moratorium on stem cell treatment in PH a must for now

THIS IS in reference to the latest Department of Health warning on the use of stem cells from aborted fetuses (“DOH warns against use of stem cells from aborted babies,” Inquirer, 11/11/12). It is my humble opinion as a Filipino medical practitioner that the most logical and effective way for the DOH to fulfill its function of protecting and safeguarding the health of Filipino patients from dubious stem cell treatment is to immediately impose a moratorium on stem cell therapy in the country.

In developed countries, novel stem cell treatment can only be tried on patients under a strict clinical trial environment. For example, if one tries to treat cancer or diabetes mellitus with stem cells using a protocol not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (US FDA), one has to submit first to the US FDA voluminous scientific documents supporting or justifying the trial, based on pre-clinical studies. The trial is  undertaken only after approval by the US FDA and institutional review boards, and usually the patients are treated for free or at a minimal patient expense. The treatment protocol is also open for review and the treatment results, both positive and negative, are meticulously monitored, reported and preferably published in a peer-reviewed medical journal.

In the Philippines, some medical centers are currently giving stem cell treatment for a variety of conditions that had not been approved by the US FDA. The DOH mentioned that they will just be regulating and monitoring these centers (or the quality of their stem cells), but it is not saying anything yet about stopping the practice of delivering unproven stem cell treatments. I respectfully believe that this is the wrong approach and that it is paramount that the DOH should prioritize the safety and interests of Filipino patients rather than the financial interests of hospitals and doctors who have already invested in the technology. Of course, those few stem cell treatments that are approved by the US FDA (some blood cancers, prostatic cancer, etc.) should be the only ones allowed to continue for now until the DOH finalizes its regulatory guidelines.

—JOSE A. AGUILAR, M.D., consultant,

Philippine Children’s Medical Center,


Follow Us

Follow us on Facebook Follow on Twitter Follow on Twitter

Other Stories:

No related posts found!

Recent Stories:

Complete stories on our Digital Edition newsstand for tablets, netbooks and mobile phones; 14-issue free trial. About to step out? Get breaking alerts on your mobile.phone. Text ON INQ BREAKING to 4467, for Globe, Smart and Sun subscribers in the Philippines.

Short URL: http://opinion.inquirer.net/?p=41355

Tags: letters , stem cell treatment

Copyright © 2014, .
To subscribe to the Philippine Daily Inquirer newspaper in the Philippines, call +63 2 896-6000 for Metro Manila and Metro Cebu or email your subscription request here.
Factual errors? Contact the Philippine Daily Inquirer's day desk. Believe this article violates journalistic ethics? Contact the Inquirer's Reader's Advocate. Or write The Readers' Advocate:
c/o Philippine Daily Inquirer Chino Roces Avenue corner Yague and Mascardo Streets, Makati City, Metro Manila, Philippines Or fax nos. +63 2 8974793 to 94


  • Retired SC justice Lorenzo Relova; 98
  • Ligots fight 2nd forfeiture case
  • PH will be partly cloudy in afternoon, evening—Pagasa
  • Ex-COA chief nabbed for plunder
  • John Paul relics abound: Bloodied shirt, unwashed fork…
  • Sports

  • Sharapova advances to Stuttgart quarterfinals
  • Galedo caps ride of redemption
  • Beermen, Express dispute second semis slot today
  • Lady Agilas upset Lady Bulldogs in four sets
  • NLEX roars to 7th D-League win
  • Lifestyle

  • ‘Recovered’ Banksy works on display ahead of sale
  • Marinduque: Visiting the ‘palm of the ocean’
  • First at Vatican in 60 years
  • How Jing Monis Salon gave Krissy the pixie
  • Want to be a supermodel? Work on your inner beauty, says Joey Espino
  • Entertainment

  • Paul McCartney to play at Candlestick concert
  • Kristoffer Martin: from thug to gay teen
  • Has Ai Ai fallen deeply with ‘sireno?’
  • California court won’t review Jackson doctor case
  • Cris Villonco on play adapted from different medium
  • Business

  • PAL hailed for ban on shark fin cargo
  • BSP to change tint of P100 bill
  • Nielsen sees car buying boom in the Philippines
  • How author of best-seller exposed ‘one percent’ economic elite
  • Bangko Sentral readies new bank lending rules
  • Technology

  • Cloud strength helps Microsoft earnings top Street
  • Vatican announces hashtag for April 27 canonizations
  • Enrile in Masters of the Universe, Lord of the Rings?
  • Top Traits of Digital Marketers
  • No truth to viral no-visa ‘chronicles’
  • Opinion

  • Editorial Cartoon, April 25, 2014
  • No deal, Janet
  • Like making Al Capone a witness vs his gang
  • MERS-CoV and mothers
  • A graduation story
  • Global Nation

  • Only 4 Etihad passengers not accounted for
  • Abandoned in Malta,15 PH seamen return
  • Senator hopes PH will also get same vow
  • HK victims to get P115M; traders raised money
  • Afghan hospital guard kills 3 US doctors, including Fil-Am pediatrician
  • Marketplace