Materia Medica Malaysiana

April 29, 2007

Chua concerned over cord blood storage ‘hype’

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 10:15 am

Star: PENANG: People should not get carried away with the current trend of storing the umbilical cord blood of newborns for future medical treatment, Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Chua Soi Lek said.
He said although the medical world did not recognise any treatment technique using the stem cells of umbilical cord blood, storing the blood had become a craze in Malaysia.
“The ministry is concerned about the craze and increasing demand for cord blood storage. The misunderstanding among the public has become quite serious. If there is a potential (for its use), the ministry will study it.
“But right now there is no medical evidence on the use of the blood’s stem cells for treatment of diseases and conditions,” he said after chairing a meeting with representatives from 25 private Penang hospitals at Dorsett Hotel here yesterday.
Dr Chua said claims that it had the potential to treat heart diseases and control the ageing process were only “hype.”
He said three or four companies in Malaysia offered storage services for umbilical cord blood with some charging RM500 a year for the service.
“None of the companies are linked to any hospital,” he said, adding that the companies run on normal business licences and did not have to get any special permit.
With 480,000 births a year in Malaysia, Chua said it was not practical to keep storing cord blood.
“This is similar to the craze in the past when people stored their sperm in sperm banks but now people have stopped storing their sperm,” he added.

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