experts discussed controversial issues in biomedical research at the
inaugural medical seminar of the King Faisal Specialist Hospital and
Research Center (KFSHRC) on Monday night.
included embryonic stem cell research and its grave ethical
Dr. Sultan Bahabri,
chief executive officer at KFSHRC — who initiated the seminar by
posing the question “Does it deserve all this heated debate?” —
said the hospital’s research center aimed to have the technology and
expertise that would compare with the best worldwide.
scientific research will help generate a debate on issues confronting
the medical fraternity as well as the general public.
Dr. Essam Al-Sabban,
executive director at the hospital’s research center, explained that
it has spent a great deal of time in establishing a strong
infrastructure and support system.
collaborates with the Boston-based Center for Integrated Medical
Innovative Technology, part of MIT, and this has helped it lay down a
clear-cut strategy for our research work,” Dr. Al-Sabban added.
The research center
has already undertaken clinical research into the treatment of stroke.
“We can now treat a stroke victim within three to six hours of the
attack occurring. Previously, delays meant that while some stroke
victims recovered, many more became paralyzed,” the hospital
research is being conducted at the hospital under the direct
supervision of advisory committees.
“KFSH is already
at the top of the pyramid in terms of health care, both in the Kingdom
and regionally. This will have a direct bearing on the health care of
1.5 billion Muslims, and we make sure that we strictly adhere to
Shariah,” Dr. Al-Sabban added.
about biomedical research, Dr. Muhammad Ali Al-Bar, professor of
Islamic medicine at the King Abdul Aziz University, said: “There is
religious significance to every aspect of embryo development, from the
time an egg is fertilized or cloned to form an embryo, to the
subsequent days when the embryo begins to divide and further
Referring to the
embryonic stem cell research, he added: “There are grave ethical
concerns that need to be expressed by religious leaders. The concerns
are expressed in the context of Islam.”
Dr. Naif Al-Qurashi, acting director of community relations, said
KFSHRC, the medical sponsor of this year’s Jeddah 22 summer
festival, conducted a series of health education and awareness during
the six-week festival.