Stem cell research outstrips legislation

It starts in a dish: a collection of cells that can be made to grow into corneas, hearts or livers, or used to treat currently incurable diseases. This is the future that stem cell therapies could offer us, but the path to that future is strewn with ethical and legal pitfalls that South Africa needs strong laws and regulations to govern.

“The law has struggled to keep pace with science and medicine,” said Professor Michael Pepper, the director of the Institute for Cellular and Molecular Medicine at the University of Pretoria. “Things move too quickly and the law lags behind.”

Although there are only a few proven stem cell therapy treatments, namely blood stem cell transplants such as bone marrow transplants and skin stem cell grafts, future developments in the field could alter the trajectory of healthcare.

 

For more, find the article — originally published in Mail & Guardian — here.

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