Author: Sarah Boseley Health editor

Charlatans threaten stem cell research with unproven cures, say experts

The credibility of stem cell research is at risk because of charlatans and dodgy clinics peddling unproven cures for diseases, according to a group of eminent scientists in the field. Stem cell research, or regenerative medicine, has great potential and has already delivered some breakthroughs, but its future is threatened by poor science, unrealistic hopes, unclear funding models and unscrupulous private clinics, they say in the Lancet medical journal. A special Lancet commission made up of leading experts has reviewed the progress to date in a field that was once thought to offer answers potentially to all forms of disease and disability. If it is ever to move from small-scale experimental treatments into mainstream medicine, “substantial rethinking of the social contract that supports such research and clinical practice in the public arena will be required,” they say. Huge excitement about possible treatments for incurable diseases like multiple sclerosis and Parkinson’s disease, inflated by media reports, has led desperate patients and families to a proliferating number of poorly regulated clinics peddling “untested and potentially ineffective therapies”. Stem cell therapies: medical experts call for strict international rules Read more “The great risk of the current situation is highlighted by the case of Vannoni in Italy, in which the Stamina Foundation initially succeeded in obtaining direct authorisation from the Italian government to administer an unproven therapy to patients, thus bypassing the country’s...

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First UK patient receives stem cell treatment to cure loss of vision

Experimental transplant uses eye cells grown in a lab and if successful could be used to treat hundreds of thousands of macular degeneration sufferers in UK Dr Hilary Jones explains how the world’s first embryonic stem-cell operation has the potential to save the sight of hundreds of thousands of Britons A patient has become the first in the UK to receive an experimental stem cell treatment that has the potential to save the sight of hundreds of thousands of Britons. By December, doctors will know whether the woman, who has age-related macular degeneration, has regained her sight after a...

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