Navigation Links
Bogus Stem Cell Therapies Sold on Internet
Date:12/3/2008

New guidelines are aimed at combating less responsible uses, claims, experts say

WEDNESDAY, Dec. 3 (HealthDay News) -- Expensive, sham stem cell therapies are being hawked directly to desperate patients over the Internet, experts say.

In response, the leading organization of stem cell scientists on Wednesday issued guidelines to steer research in the field toward responsible, practical uses.

"Stem cell research is progressing so rapidly and has sparked a lot of interest in translational research [including] among patients in hopes for therapies," said Insoo Hyun, lead author of the paper outlining the guidelines and an associate professor of bioethics at Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine in Cleveland.

"At the same time," he said, "legitimate science is speeding ahead and getting to the point where there needed to be more of a road map to take the basic knowledge to clinical applications."

Although Hyun had not heard of patients actually been harmed by so-called stem cell therapies, he said he feared that "it's only a matter of time."

The new guidelines appear in the December issue of Cell Stem Cell.

Experts hailed the move.

"We clearly need guidelines for around the world to make sure that appropriate research is done before clinical work is undertaken in patients," said Paul Sanberg, distinguished professor of neurosurgery and director of the University of South Florida Center for Aging and Brain Repair in Tampa. "We see desperate patients all the time and want to make sure that any therapies they take come from responsible research groups."

In an accompanying commentary, Canadian researchers analyzed 19 Web sites unearthed by a regular Google search, all of which peddled expensive stem cell therapies for everything from stroke to allergies.

Different clinics in China (Beike Biotech), the Ukraine (ACT) and elsewhere claim to have treated thousands of patients for neurological disorders including multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injury and Alzheimer's disease, congenital conditions such as autism and cerebral palsy, as well as allergies, heart conditions and even cosmetic procedures. However, the University of Alberta team were unable to find any studies that had even investigated stem cell therapy for Parkinson's disease or for Alzheimer's, for example.

Nowhere, apparently, was there any authentication of whether the stem cells actually were stem cells, or where they had come from.

Stem cells most often, but not always, came from the patient's own bone marrow. Others reportedly came from aborted fetuses, animal tissues or donor tissues.

Web site information tended to be heavily skewed toward the alleged benefits of the process, and away from its risks. And the price? According to the paper, when advertised, the average cost of these therapies -- excluding airfare and accommodation -- was $21,500.

The new guidelines are meant to guide research toward what is practical and responsible, Hyun said. Previous scientific guidelines and regulations have regulated human-subjects research and clinical research in general, as well as gene transfer research, but not stem cell research, which poses a number of independent issues.

"Most of the time, stem cell products are presenting entirely novel products that are unpredictable in humans," Hyun said. "Unlike drugs, you can't just create a batch and put them on the shelf and expect they will be the same. We need uniform quality control and manufacturing. And if they're embryonic or pluripotent stem cells, they could form unwanted tissues or tumors. So, we have to be very careful about following up and monitoring patients."

Accordingly, the guidelines, written by a task force of stem cell specialists from 13 countries, addressed issues of ethical review, quality and safety of the stem cells; voluntary informed consent of participants in research projects along with careful monitoring of these volunteers and caution in using stem-cell-based therapies outside a research context.

Despite its promise, stem-cell based treatment is the standard of care for only a few diseases and conditions. These include hematopoietic stem cell transplants for leukemia and epithelial-stem-cell-based treatments for burns and corneal (eye)disorders.

Still, the potential of stem cell research is vast, experts said. Although research has not yet translated directly into abundant therapies for patients, the gains have been substantial, albeit indirect.

"For patients, it's not surprising that there are not direct applications but what is often lost to public is that so much knowledge had been gained from stem cell research," Hyun said. "The advancements for patients are going to come sooner through these indirect routes, not direct cell-based therapy, from the expansion of knowledge.

More information

There's a patient handbook on the new guidelines at the International Society for Stem Cell Research.



SOURCS: Insoo Hyun, Ph.D., associate professor, bioethics, Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine, Cleveland; Paul Sanberg, distinguished professor, neurosurgery, and director, University of South Florida Center for Aging and Brain Repair, Tampa; December 2008, Cell Stem Cell


'/>"/>
Copyright©2008 ScoutNews,LLC.
All rights reserved  

Related medicine news :

1. Congressional Budget Office Analysis of HR971 Rejects Pharmacy Benefit Managers Bogus Claim Bill Would Cost $29 Billion Over 5 Years
2. NCPA Statement on Bogus PCMA Study About Cost to Fix Medicare Part D
3. Market for Cellular Therapies Will Grow at a Robust Annual Rate of More Than 30 Percent in the United States Through 2017
4. Non-white med students reject therapies associated with their culture
5. Chemotherapy plus targeted therapies shows improved survival in advance-stage lung cancer patients
6. Stem cell therapies for heart disease -- 1 step closer
7. Texcel Introduces Innovative Programmable, Implantable Stimulation System for R&D of Specialty Stimulation Therapies
8. Study shows steroid therapies following transplant can be eliminated
9. Study Evaluates Laser Therapies for Hair Removal
10. New Journal to Explore Neurodegenerative, Neuroprotective and Euroregenerative Therapies!
11. New way to control protein activity could lead to cancer therapies
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
Bogus Stem Cell Therapies Sold on Internet
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... February 12, 2016 , ... The Journal of ... from 0.416 in 2013. The SJR uses data taken from the Scopus database (Elsevier ... the number of citations received by the journal over a three year period and ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... 2016 , ... The president released a FY 2017 budget request on Tuesday ... of the cost burden to military beneficiaries. , MOAA’s president, retired Air Force ... as including limited quantifiable benefit fixes mixed with numerous beneficiary fee hikes. , “We ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... 11, 2016 , ... Hall Integrative Health and Chiropractic, PC ... simultaneous grand openings in March. All seven practices are set to start accepting ... reversing diabetes possible? According to this 2011 CNN article it is possible: ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... February 11, 2016 , ... ... women’s health, is pleased to announce the promotions of Allison Kelly to executive ... Steve Catone to executive vice president of North American capital sales, and Wendy ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... ... 2016 , ... Atlantic Information Services, Inc. (AIS) is pleased ... Study for Plans and Purchasers.” Executives from Intel Corp. and Providence Health & ... health benefits program Connected Care, will discuss the challenges they faced (and how ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:2/11/2016)... Fla. , Feb. 11, 2016 ... ) company providing high-quality specialty pharmacy care for ... announced today it has achieved full Specialty Pharmacy ... accrediting organization dedicated to promoting health care quality ... --> --> The URAC accreditation ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... , Feb. 11, 2016  M3 Biotechnology Inc., spurred by a major "team investment" by ... brother, Michael, has completed an oversubscribed Series A-Round, according to CEO Leen Kawas , PhD. ... ... ... ...
(Date:2/11/2016)... 11, 2016 SI-BONE, Inc., a medical ... iFuse Implant System, a minimally invasive surgical (MIS) ... the sacroiliac (SI) joint, announced the publication of ... MIS SI joint fusion for patients suffering from ... or SI joint disruption.  In the first article, ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: