Thursday, December 04, 2008

False Claims for Stem Cell Therapies

Recently I have noticed that there are more and more claims for unproven stem cells therapies. I know of a person in Kuala Lumpur who is using 'stem cells' to cure Downs syndrome. On Tuesday I sat through a hour long lecture by a small 'stem cell' therapy company trying to interest a major healthcare organisation on the benefits of stem cell research.

I am glad that the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) task force has developed a new Guidelines for the Clinical Translation of Stem Cells which discusses core principles that should guide the responsible transition of basic stem cell research into appropriate clinical applications.

And here is an article from Cell Stem Cell journal which examines the marketing of unproven stem cell therapies.

Despite the immature state of stem cell medicine, patients are seeking and accessing putative stem cell therapies in an “early market” in which direct-to-consumer advertising via the internet likely plays an important role. We analyzed stem cell clinic websites and appraised the relevant published clinical evidence of stem cell therapies to address three questions about the direct-to-consumer portrayal of stem cell medicine in this early market: What sorts of therapies are being offered? How are they portrayed? Is there clinical evidence to support the use of these therapies? We found that the portrayal of stem cell medicine on provider websites is optimistic and unsubstantiated by peer-reviewed literature.

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Let the buyers beware.


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