KUALA LUMPUR, Oct. 29 (Xinhua) -- Malaysian scientists and clinicians should be responsible in stem cell research and ensure the safety of the related treatment, a senior government official said Monday.
Despite the promising future of stem cell research and treatment, scientific evidence is necessary before the therapies or medicine are put into clinical use, said Malaysian Health Minister Liow Tiong Lai.
Speaking at the country's first national stem cell congress, Liow said while stem cells have brought hopes for those suffered from diseases that were deemed incurable in the past, many challenges and setbacks lie ahead.
"The ethical challenges facing embryonic stem research have been almost exhaustedly discussed over the past decade and many countries have developed their own guidelines or even passed parliamentary acts to regulate stem cell research."
In the case of Malaysia, Liow said the Health Ministry had set up a committee to oversee stem cell research in the country.
Meanwhile, officials stressed that embryo cloning is strictly prohibited in Malaysia, as many other countries in the world. But Liow said his ministry so far has no interest in pushing for a stem cell act.
According to the statistics of the Health Ministry, currently there are 11 hemopoietic transplant centers performing hemopoietic stem cell transplants in Malaysia, and 213 such transplants were performed and registered in 2009. Local universities and institutions have also been participating in stem cell research.