Is Stem Cell Therapy Approved in Singapore?

We look into stem cell therapy in Singapore, and separate the facts from the hype. We have compiled and summarised essential information below in layman's terms so that you can understand and make a better informed decision.

stem cell therapy singapore

What are Stem Cells?

The primary purpose of stem cells is to maintain, heal and regenerate tissues wherever they reside in your body. This is a continuous process that occurs inside your body throughout your life. If you didn't have stem cells, your lifespan would be about an hour, because there would be nothing to replace exhausted cells or damaged tissue. In addition, any time your body is exposed to any sort of toxin, the inflammatory process causes stem cells to swarm the area to repair the damage.

Stem cells differ from other kinds of cells in the body. They are special because of their ability to self-renew, duplicate, regenerate and repair.

Stem cells can also be classified based on their source, for example, embryonic stem cells, foetal stem cells and adult stem cells.

In order to cut through the confusion, you will need to learn more about the basics of stem cells. Check out stem cell basics.

Stem Cell Therapy in Singapore

Although commercial treatments are yet to be available in Singapore, the country is currently leading stem cell clinical trials in South-east Asia, especially in the use of haematopoietic stem cells from bone marrow to treat diseases like leukaemia. Research into the application of mesenchymal stem cells and those extracted from umbilical cord lining is also ongoing.

Two of the most sought-after destinations for commercial stem cell therapy are Malaysia and Thailand, says Daniel Choo, CEO of The Medical Concierge.

Still, a growing number of clinics in the region are offering stem cell therapy to treat ailments ranging from stroke and orthopaedic as well as sports injuries to hair loss and erectile dysfunction. According to comparison website whatclinic.com, there are 37 clinics in Malaysia and 10 in Bangkok alone offering the treatment. A clinic in a private Kuala Lumpur hospital, for instance, offers the therapy for autism spectrum disorder that starts at US$10,000 and anti-ageing treatments from US$18,000. For those for whom price is of no concern, a week’s retreat coupled with stem cell therapy at the prestigious Clinique La Prairie in Switzerland costs over $35,000.

Is Stem Cell Therapy Approved in Singapore?

A Ministry of Health spokesman said: "To date, stem cell therapy has not been substantiated by sufficient clinical evidence as a form of mainstream treatment for any diseases or ailments, and it is not available as a treatment in our public hospitals. If any registered medical practitioners or institutions want to administer stem cells as a form of medical treatment, it would have to be conducted within the context of clinical trials."

However, not all forms of stem cell therapy are not supported by clinical evidence. Some forms of stem cell therapy have been tested and proven to work in the clinic, the most prominent of which is the use of blood stem cells from bone marrow to treat cancers such as leukaemia. Bone marrow transplants have been safely applied for more than 20 years.

Most other stem cell therapies, however, are still at early stages of development with extensive safety tests yet to be conducted.

Stem Cell Therapy: Evidence and Research Update 2020

Due to the fast-changing pace of research and technology, new evidence accumulates rapidly and clinical guidelines need to be periodically updated. Stem Cell Therapy Research Update contains information and links to list of stem cell therapy and research in various categories. The list is a work-in-progress list as new evidence might be added from time to time.

Wrapping It Up

If there are any new major stem cell related evidence in Singapore that we’ve missed, please let us know in the comments and we’ll add them to the post! Thank you in advance.

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