Docs warn public on stem cell 'soup No. 7'

By Mayen Jaymalin, The Philippine Star

Posted at Mar 01 2013 07:44 AM | Updated as of Mar 02 2013 04:26 AM

MANILA, Philippines - There’s soup No. 5, and now there’s soup No. 7.

Some consumers swear by soup No. 5, whose key ingredient is bull testicle, as an effective aphrodisiac.

In the case of soup number 7, however, if you think it can make you feel and look young, think again.

Medical experts yesterday cautioned the public against consuming the latest special soup, and other products said to contain stem cells that supposedly prevent the aging process and diseases.

Leo Olarte, vice president and spokesman for the Philippine Medical Association (PMA), said bogus stem cell products now proliferate.

“Products like soup number 7, which allegedly contain stem cells that can boost sexual appetite, are now being sold, but all these are fake and fraudulent,” he said.

Among the fake stem cell products being offered in spa clinics and beauty parlors, Olarte said, are shampoo, soap and capsules.

“Stop buying these products because these are all fraudulent and you will just be wasting your money,” he said.

Christian Emmanuel Mancao, of the Philippine Society for Stem Cell Medicine (PSSCM), said stem cells could not be turned into powder and put in vials because the body needs it alive in order to multiply and replace dead cells.

He said the stem cells must be injected into the body for it to be effective, and consumers must also ensure they use only products approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Olarte and Mancao said the PMA and the PSSCM were working with the Department of Health (DOH) to regulate stem cell therapy procedures in the country.

Mancao said stem cell therapy is a procedure that introduces new cells into the body to repair damaged tissues and treat diseases including chronic diabetes.

Earlier, the PSSCM cautioned the public about the reported use of human embryo or aborted fetus for stem-cell therapy.

Olarte said pharmaceutical companies based in China and Malaysia advised local doctors to use stem cells taken from embryos.

Mancao said Filipino doctors rejected the offer since it is immoral and unethical to use aborted fetuses.

“Instead of using embryos, local doctors use stem cells taken from the patients themselves, which is a cheaper procedure,” he said.

He said the DOH is set to issue guidelines to regulate the use of stem cell therapy and prevent the entry into the country and the use of embryos.