QATAR: The legalized and ethical imputations of using stem cells and artificial intelligence (AI) in medicine were discussed at the new installment of Weill Cornell Medicine – Qatar’s (WCM-Q) Intersection of Law & Medicine series.
Skilled speakers at the event talked about the impact of current advances in stem cell science and AI on the development of medicine in Qatar and explored how the latest legal architecture could be developed to secure the rights and safety of patients in the Mena region.
The all-day-long program was organized by WCM-Q in league with Hamad Bin Khalifa University and the University of Malaya of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
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Stem cells are thrilling areas for medical experimentation because they have the capability to restore damaged or diseased tissues in humans with conditions such as Parkinson’s disease, type 1 diabetes, stroke, cancer, and Alzheimer’s disease, and much more.
Stem cells can help the researchers to test new drugs for safety and effectiveness.
“Stem cells have the capacity for unlimited or extended self-renewal, and they can differentiate themselves into many different cell types to become tissue- or organ-specific cells with special functions,” told Dr. Amal Robay, WCM-Q assistant professor in genetic medicine and director of research compliance.
The central ethical dilemma of stem cell science arises from the fact that embryonic stem cells are derived from human embryos or by cloning, she added.
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Bioethics expert Dr. Jeremy Sugarman of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, US said that the public image of stem cell research had been damaged by a small number of high-profile cases in which scientists had behaved unethically.
The field had also been hampered by different countries applying different laws to stem cell research, making international collaboration problematic, he added.
While, the implementation of AI in Medicine has the potential to leverage analysis of huge amounts of data to improve patient outcomes, but poses ethical concerns regarding privacy, the variety of data sources, biases and relying on non-human entities for potentially life-changing decisions.
“It’s very important that we bridge that gap between the professions of law and medicine, and that we understand the fundamental importance of ethicists to the advance of science,” told Dr. Barry Solaiman, assistant professor of law in the College of Law and Public Policy at HBKU.
“We need to consider how lawyers can help to develop laws to ensure that scientific advances and that it does so in ways that protect everyone involved,” he added.
The event, which was co-directed by Dr. Solaiman and Dr. Thurayya Arayssi, professor of clinical medicine and senior associate dean for medical education and continuing professional development at WCM-Q, also participated in other skilled speakers.
Dr Mohamed Firdaus bin Abdul Aziz of the Faculty of Law at the University of Malaya, who talk about stem cell regulations around the world, Dr Faisal Farooq of Qatar Computing Research Institute, who discussed about AI in healthcare, Dr Effy Vayena of the Swiss Institute of Technology on the ethical challenges of using machine learning in medicine, Dr Sharon Kaur of the Faculty of Law at the University of Malaya on global regulation of AI, and Dr Mohamed Ghaly of Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies on Islamic concept of bioethics in stem cell research.
The visiting professors also contributed in two panel discussions, one examining the law and ethics of stem cell science, managed by Dr. Adeeba Kamarulzaman, dean of medicine at the University of Malaya, and another on AI in healthcare managed by Dr Thurayya Arayssi, professor of clinical medicine and senior associate dean for medical education and continuing professional development at WCM-Q.