New Delhi: The Delhi High Court on Thursday allowed two children suffering from autism spectrum disorder (ASD) to undergo stem cell therapy for treatment of their condition.
The family members of the two children had approached the high court earlier this year with a petition after their treatment was stopped by their doctors on account of a recommendation by the Ethics and Medical Registration Board (EMRB) of National Medical Commission (NMC), which said the use of stem cell therapy shall amount to professional misconduct.
A bench headed by Chief Justice Satish Chandra Sharma said there was no law banning the use of stem cell therapy for ASD and even the NMC is yet to take a final decision on the recommendation.
“No fruitful purpose would be served by stopping the treatment that is going on at present and therefore the petitioners are permitted to continue the treatment,” the bench, also comprising Justice Sanjeev Narula, said.
Listing the matter for further hearing on October 3, the court also asked the NMC to take a final decision on the recommendation.
“This is an interim order. We don’t want treatment to stop right now,” the court said.
It, however, clarified the treatment shall be at the risk of the petitioners.
Two expert doctors from AIIMS, who were present during the proceedings to assist the court, told the bench that stem cell therapy is allowed as a mode of treatment only for blood cancer and its use for treating ASD was currently at an experimental stage.
They said more research was required about the use of the therapy for ASD before it is prescribed as a treatment. As of now, even the therapy protocol was not clear, the doctors said.
One of the petitioners, a doctor herself, submitted stem cell treatment for her daughter should not be stopped as she has shown “great improvement” after taking it.
The petitioners were aggrieved by the recommendation of the EMRB dated December 6, 2022, which said the use, promotion and advertisement of stem cell therapy shall amount to professional misconduct.
The petitioners argued the recommendation was proving an impediment in the treatment of the first petitioner’s grandson and the second petitioner’s daughter, who suffer from Global Developmental Delay with Autism, developmental disorders that affect social and cognitive growth.
News Source: ndtv