Legal and Ethical Issues in Stem Cell Research in South Africa

Reference work entry

Abstract

The use of stem cells in research and therapeutic treatment procedures involves both legal and ethical aspects. The law and medical ethics walk hand in hand in this regard. The tremendous advances in biomedical research, as well as developments in new treatment procedures, are contributing to more and more successes in the healing process. A consequence of these new biomedical techniques and treatments is that the law, and especially legislative requirements, cannot keep up with such techniques and treatments. Legislation recently came in force in South Africa to regulate the use of stem cells in research and the therapeutic treatment of patients. The South African Parliament promulgated the National Health Act 61 of 2003 a few years ago, but only recently came into effect. These sections permit therapeutic cloning of human stem cells and, allow the therapeutic cloning of human stem cells to be used to benefit patients and to assist practitioners. The legal and ethical aspects concerning the use of stem cells in research and the therapeutic treatment of patients form the basis of this chapter. The discussion will include aspects such as stem cells and from where they are derived, patient’s rights to choose to make use of stem cell therapy, informed consent for medical treatment, the recognition of novel treatment procedures, the practitioner’s scope of practice, and legislative control.

Keywords

Stem Cell Umbilical Cord Blood Treatment Procedure Human Embryonic Stem Cell Stem Cell Therapy 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Notes

Acknowledgments

This chapter is an updated version of an article The use of stem cells in therapeutic treatment procedures: Legal and ethical aspects published in Obiter, 2010, Volume 31, Number 3, 294-605.

References

  1. 1.
    Pepper MS. The stem cell regulatory environment in South Africa – case for concern. S Afr Med J. 2009;99(7):505–7.Google Scholar
  2. 2.
    Jordaan DW, Woodrow C, Pepper MS. Banning private stem cell banks: a human rights analysis. S Afr J Hum Right. 2009;25:126–51.Google Scholar
  3. 3.
    Anonymous. Stem cell technology is a fascinating, evolving science in medical circles. Krant. July 9:9.Google Scholar
  4. 4.
    Holt Y. Neurological disorders: a focus on stem cells as potential treatment. Neuron. January;2(1):12–13.Google Scholar
  5. 5.
    Swanepoel M. A proposed legislative framework for the regulation of aspects pertaining to embryonic stem cell research and therapeutic cloning in South Africa. THRHR. 2010;73(1):1–23.Google Scholar
  6. 6.
    Slabbert M, Oosthuien H. Shortcomings in legislation and the current system of organ procurement in South Africa. Obiter. 2007; 2(28):304–323; Pepper 2009.Google Scholar
  7. 7.
    Regulations Relating to the Use of Human Biological Material published in Government Gazette R. 177 of 2 March 2012 and Regulations Relating to Stem Cell Banks in Government Gazette R. 183 of 2 March 2012.Google Scholar
  8. 8.
    Carstens P, Pearmain D. Foundational principles of South African medical law. Durban: LexisNexis; 2007. p. 191.Google Scholar
  9. 9.
    Dhai A, Moodley J, McQuoid-Mason DJ, Rodeck C. Ethical and legal controversies in cloning for biomedical research – a South African perspective. S Afr Med J. 2004;94:906–9.PubMedGoogle Scholar
  10. 10.
    Oosthuizen H, Verschoor T. Ethical principles becoming statutory requirements. S Afr Fam Prac J. 2008;50(6):36–40.Google Scholar
  11. 11.
    Dhai A. Informed consent – 2008. S Afr J Bioeth Law. 2008;1(1):27–30.Google Scholar
  12. 12.
    Strauss SA. Doctor, patient and the law. 3rd ed. Pretoria: Van Schaik; 1991. p. 1, 8, 420, 422.Google Scholar
  13. 13.
    Claassen NJB, Verschoor T. Medical negligence in South Africa. Pretoria: Digma; 1992. p. 57, 76.Google Scholar
  14. 14.
    McQuoid-Mason DJ. An introduction to aspects of health law: bioethical principles, human rights and the law. S Afr J Bioeth Law. 2008;1(1):7–10.Google Scholar
  15. 15.
    Strauss SA, Strydom MJ. Die Suid-Afrikaanse geneeskundige reg. Pretoria: Van Schaik; 1967. 176, 182, p. 182–186, 189.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Criminal and Medical Law, Faculty of LawUniversity of the Free State (UFS)BloemfonteinSouth Africa

Personalised recommendations