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

shed."

Despite the absence of randomized clinical trial evidence that these stem cell therapies work, an "increasingly popular but controversial" tourism industry has grown up around them.

"This is a matter of international importance, as increasing numbers of foreign patients travel to China to seek unproven stem cell therapies not available in their home countries," according to the MRC. "The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) strongly condemns the administration of unproven stem cell therapies and has written a handbook to help doctors and patients make informed decisions about available stem cell therapies."

As for advice to last-resort patients considering Chinese clinic stem cell treatments: "This is not a medical study," says Dr. Singer. "Instead we urge such patients to consult their own medical professionals. The International Society for Stem Cell Research has certainly made their stance clear."

"These therapies are sought out by desperate, no-option patients seeking marginal improvements in their quality of life. People should get as much information as possible before committing to any procedures. Each clinic provides a different therapy for a variety of different ailments and there is no systematic evidence that these therapies work."

Chinese firsts

While unorthodox activities at Chinese clinics and controversial drug approvals have raised eyebrows both in and outside China, dedicated researchers in the country's labs have been making remarkable contributions to the field.

Among the country's scientific firsts:

  • By transferring the nucleus of a human skin cell into the immature ovum cell of a rabbit, researchers from a Shanghai hospital successfully produced embryonic human cells (a finding popular scientific journals held off publishing for two years due to skepticism and of mistrust Chinese scientific integrity).

  • China to date ha
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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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