09/02/2010, 00.00
Send to a friend

British specialists warn against dangerous ‘stem cell tourism’ in China

Scientists in Britain issue a warning for patients who seek stem cell treatment in clinics around the world. There is no evidence in favour of their therapies; they are a fraud.
Beijing (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Thousands of people are putting their health and life savings at risk in order to travel to clinics in China and elsewhere around the world for unproven and potentially dangerous stem cell treatments. Up to 700 such facilities offer unproven cell therapies, British experts said.

People with Parkinson's disease or childhood blindness are being tempted into spending tens of thousands of dollars with little chance of success. They are also “in danger of losing their life and health, needlessly travelling long distances away from home, friends and family, not having their condition improved, and potentially losing a large sum of money," said Chris Mason of University College London's (UCL) regenerative medicine bio-processing unit.

The British experts said they were particularly concerned about a firm in Germany called XCell-Centre and an American firm in China, Beike Biotechnology, which offer stem cell treatments for a range of conditions including brain injury, cerebral palsy, multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injury and optic nerve damage.

“These companies do not offer licensed therapeutics, so it is something” for which “the patients themselves have to sign consent forms," Peter Coffey of UCL's ophthalmology institute said.

“The main issue around licensing a therapeutic is not just that it's safe . . . but also to show efficacy. None of these companies has ever been through that type of procedure.”

For Robert McLaren, a consultant at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, there is "categorically" no evidence to date that stem cell therapies can be used as treatment.

The International Society for Stem Cell Research has previously warned of rogue stem cell clinics seeking to exploit desperate patients oblivious to the risks.

The British experts said they had been prompted to speak out because of requests they get from patients who read about apparently dramatic cures on websites and in the media.

Send to a friend
Printable version
See also
Korean bishops urge prayers for national unity and Christian rebirth
Chinese and German scientists helping Pyongyang’s 'dual-use' nuclear technology
20/12/2018 14:25
Damage from stem cell therapy. Caution never hurts
Embryonic stem cell research is an act against human dignity, says Korean Church
Korean Church against Bioethics committee and embryonic stem cell research


Subscribe to Asia News updates or change your preferences

Subscribe now
“L’Asia: ecco il nostro comune compito per il terzo millennio!” - Giovanni Paolo II, da “Alzatevi, andiamo”