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Stem cell therapy yet to take off

tech reviews Updated: Nov 23, 2007 02:54 IST
GC Shekhar

Stem cell treatment for diseases and regeneration of tissues is only in a state of research and still a long way from curing people, a leading stem cell expert has said.

“We need to clarify this since many pharma companies are hyping stem cell therapy through ampoules which they claim contain stem cell treatment. Except for treatment of blood cancer using bone marrow tissue stem cell treatment is really not happening for any other diseases,” observed Dr. Simon Philipp Hoerstrup, Director Cardiovascular Research from University Hospital, Zurich.

Speaking to reporters on the eve of a symposium on Stem Cell Based Degenerative Therapy at MIOT Institute of Research here Dr. Hoerstrup specifically warned against the efficacy of the stem cell treatment based on embryonic cells. “Firstly embryonic stem cell treatment is not ethical since we are destroying embryos in the process. Also their potential is overstated since stem cells derived from embryos when used on a recipient to whom it does not belong could get rejected by his body. There is also the threat of embryonic cells morphing into rogue cancer cells,” he observed.

He urged the medical fraternity to step cautiously on this front till the cellular function of embryonic stem cells was fully understood.