‘No moral issue on SPHI’s stem cell therapy’

Saint Paul’s Hospital-Iloilo’s stem Cell Treatment does not go against moral standards because the stem cells will come from the patient himself unlike others being practiced, according to its hospital administrator.
Sister Rosamond Abadesco of SPHI, said their treatment is hospital-based, which goes along with the Department of Health’s effort to regulate the practice, “kasi if we are not careful, we can go into moral issues.”

“We can’t just do any stem cell treatment. The one that is accepted, which is what are promoting, is the autologous stem cell treatment,” she said.

The Autologous Stem Cell is a medical procedure in which stem cells (cells from which other cells of the same type develop) are removed, stored and later given back to the same person from whom it was harvested.

Abadesco said, “Another source is the embryo, which is definitely questionable because it is prone to abuse, like sometimes, the fetus is being developed just for the stem cells. Others are animals like sheep but their DNAs are different from humans. So, we have to make sure that the stem cells do not go against the tissue of the human being. We are careful for the patient’s protection,” she said.

Stem cells maintain and repair the differentiated cells of the body.

The treatment can be used for malignant diseases of the blood, diabetes, hypertension, chronic regenerative diseases, autism, among others. It is also for rejuvenating and anti-aging.

Yesterday, SPHI and the Medical Conglomerate of Asia, Africa and Oceana, Inc. signed a memorandum of agreement on providing stem cell treatment here.

The MCAAO will be bringing in specialists who will perform the treatment, while SPHI will provide the accommodation, facilities like the operating room, food and others that patients need.

“We required that their doctors, who are based in Manila, to be accredited with SPHI, and to follow the rules and regulations and standard of practice of the Philippine Medical Association and the SPHI. Part of the program is the transfer of knowledge, for them to train our doctors,” Abadesco added.

Dr. Leo Olarte, president of MCAAO, said Ilonggos need not travel to other places in order to have stem cell treatment.

“In Manila, the treatment costs P700 thousand to P4 million. It will be cheaper in SPHI,” he said.
“The procedure takes four hours. The full treatment has three sessions with a six-week interval. So, if you receive the three sessions, you will get the maximum benefit of the stem cell treatment,” he said.
“One doctor is needed for the procedure. We get the stem cells from the belly through liposuction. We separate the fat cells. We re-inject or transfuse the stem cells to the patient. Thus, there is no allergic reaction,” he explained.

“So far, this is the most effective and most appropriate treatment for Filipinos and promoted by the DOH,” he said.

DOH has issued Administrative Order No. 2013-0012 last March 18, 2013 which provided the rules and regulations regarding the practice.

“We can perform the procedure anytime now if there is a patient. Many friends from abroad are even excited to come to Iloilo City for this treatment,” Olarte said.

Meanwhile, Mayor Jed Patrick Mabilog said this will boost the city’s aim to become a medical tourism destination.*Marie Katherine Villalon

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