Materia Medica Malaysiana

May 28, 2008

RM32 million for stem cell research

Filed under: Uncategorized — malaysianmedicine @ 11:57 am

NST: KUALA LUMPUR: Malaysia is showing its support for stem cell research by approving a RM32 million allocation to develop and strengthen stem cell and cord blood banking activities in the country.
Health Minister Datuk Liow Tiong Lai said RM5.86 million was for the setting up of a stem cell transplantation laboratory at Institute for Medical Research, while RM18.87 million was for the expansion of the public cord blood banking facility at the National Blood Bank and Sultan Abdul Halim hospital in Sungai Petani.
Another RM5.57 million is to strengthen stem cell and bone marrow transplantation services at Ampang hospital.
Liow, however, warned that stem cell research and treatment must be within the agreed ethical guidelines.
He said clinical use of embryonic stem cells was not permitted, while all forms of experimental stem cell therapies for myocardial infarction, spinal cord injuries, Down’s Syndrome and cerebral palsy must be approved by the Institute’s Research and Ethics Committee.
To further protect potential patients, Liow said the development and application of new, innovative and investigational cell therapy was also subject to the approval of the ministry.
A National Stem Cell Committee has also been formed to provide governance and leadership.
“It will develop and support organ, tissue and cell transplantation units in designated hospitals, work with the relevant agencies to ensure that institutions are accredited and practitioners are credentialled,” he said.
The committee which reports to the National Transplantation Council, chaired by the director-general of health, is the main governing body of the transplantation programme.
Liow was speaking yesterday after attending a briefing on the status of stem cell therapeutics in Malaysia at Wisma Perintis.

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