MK lambasts delays in human experimentation rules

Tirosh criticizes Health Ministry for failure to speed up bill in Knesset committee; clinical trial requests are on the rise.

Doctor bedside (photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Doctor bedside
(photo credit: Thinkstock/Imagebank)
Knesset Science and Technology Committee chairwoman MK Ronit Tirosh lambasted the Health Ministry on Wednesday for failing to speed up the preparation of a bill for the regulation of medical experimentation on humans, which has been waiting in the wings for a long period.
“It cannot be that modernization influences our lives so fast, while legislation is delayed and in the end will be irrelevant,” the MK said.
The committee had heard details of the 2011 report on human experimentation showing that the number of requests for clinical trials has been increasing. Not only are patients participating in such trials, but tissues removed from patients undergo testing.
“The committee approves clinical trials after a stringent ethical examination,” the committee was told. Tirosh warned that much care must be taken regarding cloning in humans.
Prof. Zvi Borochovich, chairman of the Supreme Committee for Human Medical Experimentation, said: “Israel is at the forefront of work in the field of stem cells. The Helsinki Committee on Human Medical Experimentation changes from time to time and expands the rules, and everything is done according to the basic principles of human dignity and professional ethics. The studies have to pass many approvals after that it is ascertained that the study can in fact be carried out and that it could bring real benefits.”
The report noted that a draft for requesting the establishment of tissue samples for genetic research has already been prepared. Using existing technologies, nerve cells and tissues can be developed from a small sample of skin, saliva and even from a blood sample. These cells could be transplanted without rejection into the patient’s body to treat disease, it added.
“One must be careful and make sure that the patients in the trial understand the implications of the research into his tissue and [that] he agrees to be informed about certain diseases or other things of which he was unaware,” Borochovich added.
Tirosh congratulated the Supreme Committee on its work and said there is a rise in the number of applications for clinical trials. “This is all due to technological advances and researchers who want to improve medicine and knowledge. I view positively the insistence of the committee to be careful about genetic experimentation and cloning,” she said.
There is a need to simplify the consent letter that is signed by those involved in clinical studies so it will be written in simple and clear language, Tirosh concluded.
No response was obtained from the Health Ministry on Tirosh’s complaints.