Nguyen Thị An, diagnosed with breast cancer, was released from the hospital in stable condition on January 15. She is the second patient to be successfully treated using stem cell therapy at central Nghe An province’s Oncology Hospital.

The first case was 52-year-old Dinh Thi Lieu, who was discharged from the medical centre on December 12, 2014.

According to Doctor Nguyen Trung Chinh, former head of the Military Hospital 108’s oncology faculty and leader of the Nghe An Oncology Hospital’s stem cells research team, the therapy has been emerging and developing in Vietnam as a health care sector priority, particularly in the treatment of cancer and some benign tumours.

Nguyen Quang Trung, director of the Nghe An Oncology Hospital, said as an increasing number of people across the country have registered to take part in the new treatment at his hospital, the medical establishment is facing infrastructure, human resource and medical equipment shortage obstacles.

Public health insurance is also inadequate for the treatment, he pointed out, adding that total cost per patient for stem cell treatments is 300 million VND (13,981 USD), only one third of which is currently covered by national health insurance.

Vietnam has carried out stem cell research and application in medical treatment since the 1990s. The technology has been used in the treatment of blood diseases, cardiology, dermatology, brain paralysis, and surgery.

In 1995, the country conducted its 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 the Hue Central Hospital, National Paediatric Hospital, Military Hospital 108 and August 19 Hospital, the Haematology and Blood Transfusion Hospital, Hospital 115.

Hundreds of stem cell transplants have been carried out nationwide so far, primarily for patients suffering from blood diseases.-VNA