"I've made some very strong comments which could potentially land me in court, but people still go to these clinics," said Professor Peter Coffey, director of the London Project to Cure Blindness at University College London. There are now several hundred clinics around the world which claim to have turned the potential of stem cells into effective treatments. They lure those suffering from diabetes, multiple sclerosis, heart failure, Parkinson's disease, autism, HIV, eye problems, spinal cord injuries and much else besides.
Several thousand people from around the world so far are estimated to have spent up to £20,000 or more in such places. Yet while stem cells could transform medicine, there is as yet scant actual proof of their efficacy. But still the tourists come.
The fact that scientists believe it is likely to be 15 to 20 years before the continuing worldwide flurry of trials and tests results in reliable treatments has not stopped clinics from offering exactly that already. Strong regulation means there are no such places in the UK or America. But the experts did single out the XCell Centre in Düsseldorf, Germany, and Beike Technology, which runs one in Shenzhen in China.
Sunday, September 5, 2010
Autism and Stem Cells
As an earlier post explained, there is legitimate research into stem cells and autism. But it will be many years before this research actually does something for people on the spectrum. Meanwhile, as Time reports some are still trying to make a buck: