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China a rising star in regenerative medicine despite world skepticism of stem cell therapies
Date:1/7/2010

t the regulation details, says Ms. McMahon, the study's lead author. "Once that is accomplished, we still expect a delay, during which the therapies currently administered by clinics and hospitals will be evaluated individually to determine whether they meet the criteria of China's Ministry of Health."

"It is hard to say what impact these new clinical regulations will have in China, although certainly they show the government's commitment to changing the way things are done," she adds.

Beike Biotechnology Inc. (Shenzhen) is the largest of the Chinese therapy centers and claims to have treated over 5,000 patients to date, including more than 900 foreigners, offering stem cell injections into spinal fluid, for example.

The Stem Cell Center affiliated with Tiantan Puhua Neuroscience Hospital in Beijing, meanwhile, claims to activate and multiply the body's own neural stem cells through oral and intravenous medications and rehabilitation. It also offers a lumbar puncture or brain injection of bone marrow stem cells, fetal neural stem cells, or other stem cell types to allegedly improve symptoms of stroke, cerebral palsy, spinal injury, Parkinson's disease or other neurological diseases.

Controversial stem cell therapies provided at Beijing Xishan Institute for Neuroregeneration and Functional Recovery, involve injecting cells from aborted fetuses to treat spinal cord injury and a variety of central nervous system diseases. About 1,500 patients have received this treatment, including roughly 1,000 foreigners.

MRC authors say this latter stem cell therapy is the only one discussed in high-impact peer-reviewed academic journals. One study documented a spinal cord injury patient's early motor and sensory improvement, another found no improvement in seven spinal cord injury patients. Another recent publication found the therapy improved some spinal cord injuries in animals but its effectiveness in humans "is not yet establi
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Contact: Terry Collins
terrycollins@rogers.com
416-538-8712
Program on Life Sciences, Ethics and Policy,McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health
Source:Eurekalert

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