|Image: Credit: Nissim Benvenisty, via Wikimedia Commons|
We’ve written quite a bit about the dangers of stem cell tourism and about unregulated treatments in the U.S. The concern is that people are paying large amounts of money to receive injections of cells that haven’t been tested for safety.
Scientific American recently published a story that’s receiving a lot of attention in stem cell circles that makes clear why these unregulated injections are a problem. It highlights the story of a woman who had received injections in her face of stem cells taken from her own fat. She ended up with bone growing in her eyelid.
The story quotes CIRM grantee Paul Knoepfler, who is a stem cell researcher at UC Davis. He has blogged frequently about his concerns regarding stem cell clinics offering unregulated treatments. In the story he says:
“Many of us are super excited about stem cells, but at same time we have to be really careful. These aren’t your typical drugs. You can stop taking a pill and the chemicals go away. But if you get stem cells, most likely you will have some of those cells or their effects for the rest of your life. And we simply don’t know everything they are going to do.”
CIRM is working with our grantees and with the FDA to help move promising therapies through clinical trials and into doctor’s offices. That process takes time, but through those trials we get some assurance that the cells aren’t going to cause any harm. This page has more information about our initiatives to bring therapies through clinical trials to patients.