Taiwan set to offer cell therapies to treat cancers, joint disease

Six cell therapies recently approved by the government to treat medical issues including cancer, degenerative joint disease and skin wounds are expected to be available at permitted medical centers by the end of February, the Cabinet said Feb. 10.

Under an amendment to the Regulation Governing the Application of Specific Medical Examination Techniques and Medical Devices passed last September, the procedures that can treat degenerative joint disease, hematological malignancies, spine injuries, solid tumors, strokes and burns were authorized for use. More than 100,000 patients a year are expected to benefit from the therapies once they are rolled out, according to the Cabinet.

Four medical centers in northern, central and southern Taiwan have reached the final assessment stage and the result of their applications is expected to be unveiled by the end of this month, the Ministry of Health and Welfare said.

Emerging treatments like cell therapy�a technique that involves injecting live cellular material into patients�can help treat advanced cancers as well as improve life quality for seniors, the Cabinet said. The government aims to transform Taiwan into a hub for regenerative medicine in Asia and is committed to establishing a comprehensive regulatory and R&D environment for such procedures, it added.

To protect patients and ensure quality, medical centers must apply to the MOHW for permission to use each therapy separately and provide proof that facilities, qualification of practitioners, fees, treatment and monitoring protocols meet standards, the ministry added.

Source: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Republic of China (Taiwan)