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Sunday 23rd October 2016

Warning about foreign stem cell clinics

2nd September 2010

UK experts have warned patients against visiting foreign clinics that offer unproven stem cell therapies.

There is growing concern among experts that patients are being influenced by reports of ‘miracle cures’ but without any evidence that they work.

UK experts say they regularly receive inquiries from patients who are considering travelling overseas to clinics for therapies, which can cost in excess of £20,000, ranging from spinal cord injury and heart failure to diabetes and Parkinson's disease.

Professor Robert McLaren, a consultant at Moorfields Eye Hospital in London, said: “We are unfortunately dealing with patients who are completely desperate and willing to try anything possible.

"We need to try to steer them a little towards the reality that these treatments have no proven benefits and may actually be detrimental."

Another expert, Professor Peter Coffey, director of the London Project to Cure Blindness at University College London, also spoke of his frustration over the matter.

They are among a group of researchers who have raised concerns over foreign clinics offering stem cell therapies.

A spokeswoman for Arthritis Research UK said: "Stem cell tourism is a real problem because patients feel encouraged by the positive press given to stem cell therapies in the UK, but often feel that we move too slowly in delivering therapeutic solutions.”

Arthritis Research UK has announced it is to run a clinical trial testing the effectiveness of cultured stem cells from bone marrow to treat up to 70 patients with osteoarthritis of the knee later this year, as part of a £500,000 five-year programme.


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