In this Wednesday, Oct. 31, 2012 photo provided by the University of Miami, Dr. Joshua M. Hare, director of the Interdisciplinary Stem Cell Institute, performs a heart biopsy, a preliminary step in one of several cardiac stem cell trials at the University of Miami Miller School of Medicine. Researchers are reporting key advances using stem cells to fix weakened, damaged hearts. In one study, bone marrow cells donated by unrelated strangers helped repair hearts, suggesting that cells could be banked for off-the-shelf use in patients after heart attacks the way blood is banked now. AP FILE PHOTO
MANILA, Philippines—A new broth called Soup No. 7 promises to improve one’s sexual appetite.
It is a take on Soup No. 5, a stew of bulls’ balls and condiments that are usually sold at roadside eateries and believed to boost a male’s sexual stamina.
But an official of the Philippine Medical Association (PMA) warned the public, on Thursday, against Soup No. 7 and other concoctions being peddled for supposedly rejuvenating stem cells.
According to Dr. Leo Olarte, PMA vice president, consumers should be wary of “lotions, tablets, shampoos and even soups” that are being sold to the public because they supposedly have stem cells.
Stem cell therapy is becoming popular in the country as a cure for degenerative diseases or for cosmetics purposes.
“There’s even this soup called Soup No. 7 which is supposed to improve one’s sexual appetite because, they claim, that it has stem cells. But that is fake. They’re making fraudulent claims,” Olarte said in a press conference in Quezon City.
He explained that stem cells were injected by doctors in their patient’s bodies and were not introduced through other means.
“We appeal to the public to be vigilant because these products are not registered with the Bureau of Food and Drugs. They are contraband and are substandard medicine that we should not use,” Olarte said.
Dr. Christian Emmanuel Mancao, an officer of the Philippine Society for Stem Cell Medicine, said stem cells could not be introduced into the body in “powdered” or tablet form because these cells should be “alive” to be effective.
“You cannot powderize stem cells. They have to be alive so that they could subdivide or stimulate other cells to repair the body,” Mancao said.
“Some people are spending needlessly on these fake products. They are giving the public false hopes,” he added.
Mancao said legitimate stem cell therapies in the country cost from P750,000 to more than P4 million.
Olarte said that even with genuine stem cells, the public should find out first where they came from before using them for therapy.
“The government prohibits the use of stem cells from animals like rabbits, cows, pigs, sheep or aborted fetuses or human embryos,” Olarte said.
Clinics should be accredited first by the Department of Health (DOH) before they could offer stem cell therapies to their patients, he said.
Before stem cells from another person are used, these should be first tested if “compatible” with the recipient, Mancao said.
“Or else these could lead to diseases that could cost one’s life. In Hong Kong last year, four patients suffered from septic shock and one of them died,” he said.
Olarte also warned the public against foreign corporations from Malaysia, China, Russia and other countries that use stem cells from aborted fetuses or human embryos.
“This is a major source of concern because the use of embryonic stem cells is illegal in the country. The DOH is strongly against the idea of harvesting human embryos or fetuses for stem cell therapy. That is killing human life,” Olarte said.
He said there were offers for the use of embryonic stem cells “but I don’t think our doctors will be that ignorant to accept these things. If you are licensed, a Christian and have moral values, you won’t fall for these offers. They are illegal.”
Olarte urged the Catholic Church and other Christian churches to come forward and inform the public about the “evil of killing human life for profit.”