The research and application of stem cells in medicine are the main contents discussed at a national conference held in the southern province of Kien Giang from April 25-27.

The conference, the second of its kind, saw the attendance of nearly 300 doctors and scientists from the Ministry of Health, Ministry of Science and Technology, research institutes, medical schools and major hospitals nationwide, as well as foreign experts from Germany and the Republic of Korea.

Thirty reports have been presented at the event, discussing stem cells application in treatments in a wide range of fields, from haematology and blood transfusion, ophthalmology, cardiology, dermatology, burn treatment and surgery.

In Vietnam, stem cells research and application have been carried out since the 1990s. In 1995, the country conducted the first stem cell transplant for a 26-year-old patient with blood cancer.

By now, many hospitals have applied the technology in health treatment, including Hue Central Hospital, National Paediatric Hospital, Hospital 108 and August 19 Hospital. A total of 214 stem cell transplants have been carried out nationwide so far, mostly on patients of blood diseases.

Experts urged the building of a national programme on stem cells with the participation of many organisations and medical establishments to secure the supply of stem cells from donors for transplant.

The conference is co-organised by the National Institute for Haematology and Blood Transfusion and the Vietnam Association of Haematology and Blood Transfusion.-VNA