stem cell tourism

Medical travel for unproven stem-cell-based therapies is commonly referred to as stem cell tourism.

ISSCR and Institute of Medicine Workshop Recap: Unregulated Stem Cell-based Treatments

The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) has for some years been a voice in the debate over unregulated stem cell treatments, advocating for careful oversight but cognizant of the plight of patients facing critical diseases and their need for hope.

Last week, the ISSCR, along with the Institute of Medicine of the USA, hosted a workshop to explore issues faced in the clinical application of stem cell treatments, in particular, the practice of unproven stem cell therapies. The meeting brought together representatives from the research and medical communities, national scientific and medical academies, regulatory advisors, consumer protection and patient advocacy groups.

Interview with Doug Sipp, Manager at RIKEN CDB, Kobe, Japan

In June 2011, Danielle Nicholson met up with Doug Sipp from the RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology (CDB), Kobe, Japan at the International Society for Stem Cell Research 9th Annual Meeting in Stem Cell City, a.k.a. Toronto, Canada.

Tackling stem cell tourism: a comment by Matthew D. Griffin

Stem cell therapy is moving steadily toward worldwide clinical application for a broad range of inherited and acquired diseases. In countries where biomedical research progress is both widely publicised and tightly regulated, it is understandable for those who stand to benefit from the regenerative potential of stem cell therapies to seek more rapid access to treatments. This situation is conducive to practitioners operating under lax regulatory conditions offering treatment to patients travelling from overseas. Indeed, there is good evidence that stem cell therapies are an important driver of medical tourism and good reason to believe that some patients who travel for stem cell therapy are receiving ineffective or harmful interventions.

Tackling stem cell tourism: a comment by Robin Lovell-Badge

Rogue clinics are the scourge of the serious enterprise of stem cell research and its application. They are a risk to patients and to a respectable field of scientific and clinical endeavour with very laudable aims. Therefore rational stem cell scientists will be keen to promote any realistic measure to deal with them. Many are taking action by working to produce agreed guidelines for best practice, and helping to educate regulators and members of the public. In an article published in EMBO Reports, Master and Resnik [1] argue that stem cell scientists should do more to tackle these rogue clinics by controlling access to materials and methods through documents called Material Transfer Agreements (MTAs). You can read a short summary of their proposal in our introduction. I do not think this particular strategy is useful for several reasons.

Should scientists do more to tackle stem cell tourism?

(C) Uta Mackensen / EMBO reports(C) Uta Mackensen / EMBO reportsMany clinics offering unproven stem cell therapies have appeared in recent years. What can we do to prevent exploitation of patients made vulnerable by their desperation for a cure? Efforts so far have often focused on informing patients of the risks, or enhancing regulation of stem cell research or therapy.  An article published today in the journal EMBO Reports argues that another strategy is needed; and stem cell scientists have a key role to play.

Tackling stem cell tourism

Edited by:  Emma Kemp

©iStockphoto.com/Gennadiy Poznyakov©iStockphoto.com/Gennadiy Poznyakov

Medical travel for unproven stem-cell-based therapies is commonly referred to as stem cell tourism. In an article published in EMBO Reports [1], Zubin Master and David B. Resnik argue that stem cell scientists should take on more responsibility for tackling this problem. So what is their proposal and what questions does it raise?

Stem cell tourism: The risks of unproven therapies

Medical travel for unproven stem-cell-based therapies is commonly referred to as stem cell tourism. Clinics worldwide over-promise the benefits of their so-called treatments and grossly downplay or ignore the risks. Such unproven therapy is without scientific rationale. Neither the efficacy of the treatments, nor the lack of serious side effects has been shown in animal models. This 'magic cure by stem cells' approach must be condemned under all circumstances.

Syndicate content