Blog entry by Meguid El Nahas
This month in the Lancet:
An editorial by Farhat Yaqub on:
Rana Dajani and teh Ethics of Stem cell Research in the Middle East.
The editorial highlights Dr Rana Dajani elevated position in medical and biology research with emphasis on her work in genetics but also the potential of stem cell research to treat many genetic and rare diseases.
Dr Dajani who works at the Hashemite University in Jordan has initiated working and advisroy partiers to explore the potential of stem cell research therapy in medicine and has involved physicians, scientists but also religious and legal experts.
This is a very important step forward in the ethics and governance of medical research in the Middle East and in aprticular in research and potential treatment involving stem cells.
Stem cell therapies like all medical innovcative interventions require considerable governance to translate from basic science to the bedside. Whilst such governance and guidance are often in palce in high economies, the translation of medical adsvances into clinical practice often lacks rigorous governance and good clinical practice (GCP) in emerging countries.
All too often patirents are treated with experiemntal intyerventions before such GCP related steps are implemented and even before ethical and IRB approval or even consideration. This has to be subject of grave concern as patients with geentic conditions, those with orphan and rare disease and others with a range of metabolic abnormalities potentially amenable to stem cell therapies have to be protected against malpractices before they benefit from good practices...
They need to be protected from:
1. being used as guineapigs for greedy scientists and investigators
2. being exploited, and their suffering, by money seeking investigators, physicians and Pharma.
3. being exposed to potential risks before benefiting from potential advances.
4. being duped to beleive their are treated with proven interventions...whe in reality they are subject of research into unproven interventions...after all that is the essence of clinical trials: to Test and Unproven intervention that seems promisiiong...as if it was of proven benefit, it would no longer be ethical to deny its benefits from a control group given placebo....
5. being subjects in poorly controlled and badly conducted "clinical research" that ultimately will yeild no meaningful outcome other than boost the income of the sponsors and investigators of such research...
More than in any other field of medicine, stem cell researchj and therapy has raised considerable hopes and expectations amongst the medical profession and those suffering from a wide range of diseases from Daibetes mellitus, heart failure, multiple sclerosis to spinal injury and kidney diseases, but the road ahead is long....and in emerging countries the risk of exploitation is high, thats why the work of people like Rana Dajani has to be commented and followed with great interest.
This Blog aims to raise awareness of the importance of Good Clionical Practice and the Governance and Ethics of Medical Research in Emerging countries;
IT IS NOT ALWAYS AS GOOD AND ETHICAL AS WE WOULD EXPECT...
In this field, as in many others, conflicts of interest between researchers, physicians and Industry is a threat to research and advances integrity. Tight policies have to be in place to safeguard medical practice and patients.
In this field, examples are common of abuse and malpractices that dont live up to ethical or moral expectations:
In this field of stem cells, less regulation may be warranted for basic research but more regulation has to be implemented acroos the board with special attention to emerging countries when it comes to teh translation of basci scientific advances to the bedside and patients' care:
FINALLY WE NEED TO GUARD OURSELVES AND OUR PROFESSION AGAINST USING PATIENTS HOPES AND EXPECTATIONS, TO GENERATE UNWARRANTED HYPE THAT AIMS TO PROMOTE THOSE WHO USE THE POTENTIAL NEW THERAPIES, SUCH AS STEM CELLS, IN UNETHICAL AND IMMOARL WAYS: