Uruguay – state monopoly on use of stem cells

(Stem Cells News image)

Currently, stem Cell research is being debated in Uruguay; this type of research has been known to be inhumane.Another project is added to the controversial law that could be adopted this year to regulate all matters relating to the conservation and use of stem cells. MPP deputy Alvaro Vega drives its nationalization.

The Frente Amplio (FA) reopened the file a bill that allows the conservation and use of newborn stem cells to cure genetic diseases.

Rep. Alvaro Vega (MPP) told El Pais that the initiative is a priority in the Health Commission, so that from the FA will promote parliamentary approval this year.

The bill for the “collection and use of human tissues and cells” must be based on that passed the Senate in 2009, during the last legislature, at the initiative of former Senator Alberto Cid. Then the project was delayed in Parliament.

The new project will maintain the express prohibition not to use human embryos to obtain stem cells. That eventual management of the embryo was controversial and sparked international criticism from the Church by colliding with the right to life. There is currently a legal vacuum regarding a possible use of surplus embryos from assisted reproduction treatment.

Nationalization. Will promote, yes, some modifications to the original text with the intention that the State has the exclusive power for the preservation of stem cells.

MaterCell is now the only private institution dedicated to the cryopreservation of stem cells from umbilical cord blood in Uruguay. This is a multinational that was installed in the country in 2005. Other companies offer mothers Uruguayan conservation of cells, but cryopreservation performed abroad.

In the previous draft provided that these companies had to notify and seek authorization from the National Institute of Donation and Transplantation (INDT), former Organ and Tissue Bank, which belongs to the Faculty of Medicine.

“One of the changes we are proposing is referred to the private bank,” Vega said in reference to MaterCell. “You have to see what we do with that. My position is that this is exclusively linked to the (former) Bank of bodies.”

He said the deputy, “to allow private participation in the conservation of stem cells is a business that exists and is legitimate but should not be in health.” He added that the Pereira Rossell, mothers have no opportunity to do the same because they have no resources for that.

Country consulted MaterCell managers, who learned by this means that the discussion was again in Parliament, and declined to comment at this time.

MaterCell Vega referred to as “a bank even without too strong scientific support for therapeutic use.” Expressed in similar terms Inés Álvarez, director of INDT: “From a therapeutic standpoint, I think it serves little or nothing because it is save for me something that maybe some time I serve,” he said.

Meanwhile, Alvarez said it is in the process of begin construction on the fifth floor of University Hospital National Bank Umbilical Cord Blood, which will be part of INDT. “The process is slow because, although given in five-year budget, there is no set amount of money for that,” Alvarez said.

The difference between a private bank and a national bank is that “the private is a depository for autologous use, ie having a specific recipient, usually within the family”, while the national bank is required for anyone to use it , “said Alvarez.

The specialist added that Mercosur Ministers of Health have recommended autologous discourage practices.

Vega’s intention is that the maintenance of stem cells takes place just at the national bank, by an anonymous donation system, as is done with human tissues and organs.

In addition, the donated stem cells may not have a personal destiny and must be framed within the Law of Organ and Tissue Donation. “Beyond that stem cells can be cryopreserved for the child who had the cord, if anyone should be able to use accurate,” said Vega.

The deputy said that the project will work in conjunction with the regulation of assisted reproduction, another issue that so far has not been legislated. According to Vega, in relation to these issues categorized as “very transcendent”, is still a discussion about health resources available in the country.

What they are, how they are obtained and what it is used

Stem cells have two important characteristics that distinguish them from other cell types. The first of these is that they are unspecialized cells that renew themselves indefinitely. The second is that under certain physiologic or experimental conditions, can be induced to become cells with special functions such as heart muscle cells or pancreas cells that produce insulin. The scientists work mainly with two classes: embryonic stem cells and adult stem cells.

Embryonic stem cells from embryos obtained from eggs that have been fertilized in vitro and then donated for research purposes with informed consent from donors.

An adult stem cell is an undifferentiated cell found among differentiated cells in a tissue or an organ in the adult. You can self renew and differentiate to produce the major specialized cell types of the tissue or organ. Some scientists use the term somatic stem cell instead of adult stem cell.

Research on adult stem cells began about 40 years. In the 1960’s, researchers discovered that bone marrow contains at least two kinds of stem cells: hematopoietic (form all blood cell types of the body) and marrow stromal or mesenchymal (comprising a mixed population that generates bone cells, cartilage, fat and fibrous connective tissue).

Stem cells are able to replicate almost indefinitely. They can also give rise to specialized cells through a process of differentiation.

Embryonic stem cells can become any cell type in the body because they are pluripotent. Adult stem cells are generally limited to differentiating into different cell types present in the organ of origin. Adult stem cells usually generate the same tissues of the body in which they reside.

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