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Regenerative medicine and stem cell therapies hold much promise for the treatment of various injuries and diseases suffered by sportspeople. While there are currently no approved stem cell treatments, researchers are working on harnessing the process by which stem cells repair and replace damaged tissues and cells.
Numerous clinical trials have attempted to test the benefits of using a patient’s own stem cells (taken from the bone marrow) to treat heart disease. Results have been conflicting; some claim significant improvements in heart function, whilst others report none at all. A group at Imperial College London investigated the possible reasons for this inconsistency and found strange, unexplained discrepancies within reports of many of the clinical trials. They have identified a link between claimed success rates and discrepancies, casting doubts over the validity of this treatment.
- 133 reports of 49 clinical trials were investigated
- 600+ discrepancies were found
- Discrepancies ranged from minor to serious mistakes and misrepresentation of data
- Reports with the most discrepancies claimed most benefit to patients, while those without discrepancies showed no improvement in patients’ conditions
The European Commission has responded to a European Citizens’ Initiative petition, reiterating its previous stance on the importance of embryonic stem cell research and potential treatments, while highlighting the existence of its ‘triple lock’ responsible research system.