A team of researchers at the University of Alberta has found the claims made by stem cell clinics --offering to do such things as reverse the effects of stroke or make people walk again -- to be wanting.
"We found that the portrayal of stem cell medicine on provider websites is optimistic and unsubstantiated by peer-reviewed literature."
The results are published in the December issue of the journal Cell Stem Cell, a publication of the International Society for Stem Cell Research. Clinics from around the world were studied, from the Philippines, India, Mexico, Russia, Thailand, Ukraine, Costa Rica, Dominican Republic, Germany, Turkey and Barbados.
Also in December's edition of Cell Stem Cell, the ISSCR released guidelines for the ethical use of stem cell treatments. Dr. Olle Lindvall, co-chair of the ISSCR task force that developed the guidelines and professor in clinical neurology at the University of Lund, said the guidelines are meant to protect patients from unsubstantiated claims.
"Stem cell research holds tremendous promise for the development of novel therapies for many serious diseases. However, as clinicians and scientists, we recognize an urgent need to address the problem of unproven stem cell treatments being marketed directly to patients."