Stem cells therapy-may be serious hazard to life

Stem Cells Therapy in Pakistan: Poor Regulations are Turning Cure into Curse

Have you ever been offered a stem cells therapy for cosmetic purpose like baldness, skin marks or depigmentation? You may be searching for therapeutic option for some medically complicated condition such as muscular dystrophy, ischemic heart injury, autism, spinal cord injury, etc. Please learn basics of stem cells research especially for your condition and investigate the authenticity of the service providers, registration of lab and certifications of relevant personnel before selecting any treatment option.


What are Stem Cells?

Stem cells

Stem cells are the master cells, which are kept undifferentiated in our body for regular regeneration of tissues. Nature has gifted us with highly potent stem cells in bone marrow and fat tissues which migrate to the injury site and home to differentiate into the cell type depleted in any organ due to internal or external insult. Degenerating diseases cross the defensive boundaries of stem cells when we get old or weak due to some drugs, metabolic disorders, or physical injury.  Scientists and doctors have decades of research on potential therapeutic applications of stem cells’ transplantation for various diseases.  

Types of Stem Cells

Adults derived stem cells (ASCs) are generally isolated from bone marrow (BMSCs) or adipose tissues (ADSCs) for autologous transplantation (same individual), while embryonic stem cells (ESCs) are considered ideal for allogenic transplantation (individuals of same species other than patient) because of no immunogenicity and highest potential of differentiation. ESCs remained in debates by scientists and social leaders for the probability of teratoma formation, and ethical concerns. Extra-embryonic fetal tissues like umbilical cord are discarded after birth, but they have highly potent stem cells (FSCs; UCMSCs) which raise no ethical concerns and teratoma formation.  


With no exaggeration, stem cells’ therapy can save lives of many patients with serious disorders including blood cancer. Commercialization of un-approved products may lead to severe side effects like blindness, tumor, infections and teratoma formation. Currently, scientists recommend the therapy when benefits overweigh the harms or when there is no alternative option available.

Stem Cells Therapy in Pakistan 

Looking globally, advanced countries are working on result oriented pre-clinical research or clinical trials for registration of biologics, while developing countries have many commercial transplantations without proven pre-clinical research. In Pakistan, no commercial stem cells product or trial registration is notified by Drugs Regulatory Authority of Pakistan (DRAP) but many fake claims are openly circulating in the public regarding safe treatment for almost every disease.

DRAP clearly published the conditions for the certification of facilities, personnel, procedures, and cells’ types. Further, each approved transplantation procedure must adhere to the guidelines by national bioethics committee (NBC) and Human organ transplantation authority (HOTA).

Holding the Tide Back

Education and public awareness are important tools against the fraudulent. NAFSORB initiated dissemination of stem cells based education in school students. There should be strict punishments against the culprits who play with the health of innocents.

Stem cell research must be carried out in an ethical manner in a way that respects the sanctity of human life.

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