Since the first stem cell transplant (SCT) was successfully performed in 1995 at the Blood Transfusion and Haematology Hospital (BT-H) in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam has performed a total of 387 cases of SCT to date; among them, 218 were autologous SCT while the remaining were allogeneic SCT.

The figures were revealed at the 3rd National Scientific Conference on Stem Cells in Da Lat city in the Central Highlands province of Lam Dong between April 23 and 25.

Some 300 researchers from across the country represent 54 field studies on stem cell therapy for the treatment of hematopoietic, epidermal, eye and heart diseases and malignancies during the 3-day event.

Stem cells offer hope for treating severe diseases and improving human health, Director of the National Institute of Haematology and Blood Transfusion (NIHBT) Nguyen Anh Tri, who is also President of the Vietnamese Society of Haematology and Blood Transfusion, remarked.

He said studies in the field have achieved significant progress with encouraging results towards better serving patients.

The use of stem cells as a standard treatment has gained traction nationwide, coupled with the establishment of new stem cells centres and increasing medical personnel trainings.

Hospitals using SCT include Hue Central Hospital, National Hospital of Paediatrics, 108 Military Hospital, BT-H of Ho Chi Minh City and 19/8 Hospital.

The NIHBT conducted its first bone marrow transplant operation (a form of SCT) in 2006. Since then, the hospital has successfully performed 150 cases of both autologous and allogeneic SCT thus far, two of which used umbilical cord blood samples from its community stem cell bank.

The bank, the first of its kind in Vietnam, stores stem cells from umbilical cord blood samples donated by pregnant women.

For her part, Deputy Minister of Health Nguyen Thi Xuyen urged experts to focus on updating the world’s latest study findings and apply them to treatment methods in Vietnam while increasing adequately trained medical staff, experience exchange and technology transfer activities.

At the conference, participants were also presented with five reports by foreign experts from Germany, Japan and Belgium, the pioneering nations in stem cell research.-VNA