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South Korean lawmakers one step from rigorous new system for stem cell Advancement: scientists, physicians and patients applaud, urge lawmakers to complete The Job

Wed, 09/19/2012 - 3:22pm
Bio-Medicine.Org

SEOUL, South Korea, Sept. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Seung-Jo Yang, a Parliament member, prepared a bill proposing new law for the management and transplantation of stem cells. On September 17, the National Health and Welfare Committee referred the bill to the Conference for review.  The previous 18th National Assembly proposed a similar stem cell bill when much of its term had already passed so it was not fully discussed until the period ended, disappointing many patients with rare diseases. The Bill was referred to the 19th National Assembly, though, which shows the willingness of South Korean leaders to meet the expectations that this new law will be passed coming from the medical community and patient groups throughout South Korea.

Dr. Jeong-Chan Ra, president of RNL BIO's stem cell technology institute said "This effort for new stem cell bill will advance the use and sophistication of autologous adult stem cell technology as a powerful solution for overcoming incurable diseases."  Dr. Ra, whose pioneering efforts in Korean stem cell research are known worldwide, is equally known in Korea as an ardent advocate for governmental investment in regenerative medicine.  Perhaps no scientist has pushed harder for rigorous standards for stem cell banking, which this proposal may at last bring to fruition.

In South Korea stem cell banks have not been operated under a specific legal structure, so development and progress has been limited. The proposed law suggests that the harvesting and preservation of stem cells must be controlled by national regulation, specifically a management system for stem cell harvesting, storage and implantation. Through this, stem cell experts expect growth in responsible stem cell research and faster, even safer development of therapeutics.

Additionally, the current Korean policy requires stem cell programs - regardless of whether there are available therapies for patients with any particular condition - to
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