STEM CELL THERAPY – Dr. Marcus Bethel, former Minister of Health

Marcus Bethel, Former Minister of Health

14th November 2012

Stem Cell Therapy is a constantly evolving research tool that involves the harvesting of pluri-potential cells (stem cells) and the planting of those cells in the human body to regenerate damaged tissues, organs or body parts.

The current status of research and preliminary results reveal that this mode of therapy holds great promise for the treatment of many diseases and maladies that afflict human beings.

However there are moral and ethical concerns that must be addressed as the technical challenges of research progress.

The ethical issues revolve around the use of embryonic stem cells, which are cells derived from human embryos or aborted fetal tissues including placenta.

The potential for abuse in the harvesting and use of such products is enormous in the absence of clear guidelines with effective monitoring, oversight and enforcement.

There is general acceptance of the use of adult stem cells for therapeutic purposes.

Hence the appointment of a National Task Force on Stem Cell Therapy to formulate guidelines and monitoring procedures is welcome and necessary.

The committee is urged to consult widely, remain sensitive to and respectful of the moral and ethical issues of our community and adopt universal best practices.

Scientific research and its application must be conducted in an environment that respects the value and sanctity of human life universally.