April 18, 2024

Chinese tighten stem cell regulation

But will they be enforced?

The Chinese Ministry
of Health is tightening up regulation of stem cell cures. People are
coming from all over the world to China for unproven stem cell
therapies offered by as many as 150 hospitals. Failures could damage
the reputation of the whole field. The Ministry has now classified all
stem cell therapies as “category 3” medical technologies —
those deemed "ethically problematic", "high risk"
or "still in need of clinical verification".

Although the
penalties for flouting these rules have not been published yet, offenders
will probably be fined or have their license to practice medicine
revoked. But in China, evading regulations is an art form. Some
researchers worry that hospitals will slither around the regulations
by labelling therapies as research, even if they are charging
patients and not carrying out the rigorous monitoring required by
clinical-trial protocols. ~ Nature, May 13