SINGAPORE: A stem cell transplant programme offered in Singapore has received international accreditation.
The programme, offered by the National University Cancer Institute and the National University Hospital (NUH), is the first in Asia to be recognised.
The accreditation is offered by the Foundation for the Accreditation of Cellular Therapy (FACT), at the University of Nebraska Medical Centre.
It’s seen as the gold standard for hospitals and medical institutions offering stem cell transplant.
In Singapore , both NUH and the National University Cancer Institute had to go through a rigorous screening process.
Improvements were made to address areas such as patient safety and laboratory practices.
The hospitals’ stem cell programme addresses adult as well as childhood illnesses.
Together, they perform up to 65 of the 180 transplants that are done each year in Singapore.
Stem cell transplants are done to treat diseases such as leukaemia, lymphoma and thalassaemia.
Patients come from as far off as Russia, Mongolia and the Middle East.
The FACT accreditation is reviewed every three years.
Professor Dario Campana of the Department of Paediatrics at the NUS Yong Loo Lin School of Medicine, said: "The FACT accreditation demonstrates that the centre meets the highest possible standards and it’s capable of doing the most complex of current procedures. In addition to that, it also shows that the setup allows us to implement innovative therapies."
Professor John Wong, director of the National University Cancer Institute (Singapore) and deputy chief executive of the National University Health System, said: "It assures our patients that the quality of care that they receive when they have stem cell therapy here is of the highest international standards for both safety and quality."
Stem cell transplant patient Muhd Izwan said the procedure gave him a new lease of life. He was treated for leukaemia, and his stem cell donor was his father.
"I did my transplant when I was 14 years old, six years ago. Now I’m alive and well, I can do my sports. I can do my rock climbing, I can do my cycling. I’m alive and healthy," he said.
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