Taipei, July 10 (CNA) The Ministry of Health and Welfare (MOHW) said Wednesday that it might soon issue approval for another two hospitals in Taiwan to offer cell therapies, as part of the country's efforts to excel in that area of treatment.
Shin Kong International HealthCare Center in Taipei, one of the two hospitals, is likely to be approved for non-cancer related cell therapy, which would be a first in Taiwan, Shih Chung-liang (石崇良), director-general of the MOHW's Department of Medical Affairs, said at the press conference at the hospital.
He did not name the other health facility, saying only that the MOHW is likely to grant approval to two hospitals within a month.
"Cell therapy is another choice of treatment, but it is not a panacea," Shih said, adding that the results of cell therapy differ among patients and could be expensive.
Currently, Tri-Service General Hospital and China Medical University Hospital are the only two health establishments in Taiwan allowed to provide cell therapies to patients, but only for cancer-related conditions.
Cell therapies for blood cancers, strokes, and degenerative joint diseases, among other conditions, are permitted in Taiwan under the "Regulations Governing the Application of Specific Medical Examination Techniques and Medical Devices," which was amended in September 2018.
Since then, 26 hospitals and clinics have applied for permission to provide cell therapy, mainly for the treatment of cancer, degenerative joint diseases and skin problems, according to MOHW statistics.
Shih said that currently only autologous cell therapy -- using the patient's own cells -- is being carried out in Taiwan, but the goal is to progress to allogeneic cell therapy, in which cells from a donor can be used, as the country is seeking to excel in the field of cell therapies.