Deep dive into US stem cell clinics gives reason to worry about ‘unsafe or useless treatments’

tray of stem cells
Image: Spencer Platt

Medical clinics that provide largely unregulated stem cell treatments are popping up all over the U.S. But a new study out [August 1] suggests that these clinics aren’t all the same, and some might be more likely to give patients unsafe or useless treatments than others.

For instance, they found that stem cells were most commonly offered for orthopedic conditions, like knee or spine injuries. But they also found that treatments for inflammatory conditions, like arthritis, were much more commonly advertised. 

[T]here are at least some places where doctors are giving stem cell treatments for conditions they have little experience in treating otherwise. This kind of mismatch was more common among clinics that promised to treat a wide range of medical conditions with stem cells, compared to those that specialized in one or two conditions.

[T]he authors do acknowledge that patients often visit these clinics as a last resort, when conventional treatments have failed to help them. And the field of stem cell medicine may very well lead to genuine advances and relief for many.

But the researchers said people should at least go to the clinics that are the most likely to be safe. 

Read full, original post: Investigation Into 170 U.S. Stem Cell Clinics Finds Some Scary Trends

Related article:  Viewpoint: FDA regulations 'a disaster' for genetically modified animal research
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