Warnings Given on Stem Cell Claims

SACRAMENTO, Aug. 8 (UPI) — The promise of future stem cell therapies has a dark side as bogus products and scams promising cures have begun surfacing, medical experts say.

Such bogus cures are as old as medicine, they say, but have found a new arena in stem cell medicine, The Sacramento (Calif.) Bee reported Sunday.

Researchers doing legitimate stem cell work say they are increasingly worried by unregulated or even fraudulent clinics.

At the University of California, Davis Institute for Regenerative Cures, “we’re averaging two calls a day from desperate patients,” about such promised cures, Director Jan Nolte says.

All too often, Nolte says, she has to tell callers with cancer and other devastating diseases stem cells can do nothing for them right now. Not in America, and not anywhere else.

“It breaks my heart,” Nolte said.

“The world is full of clinics and pseudo practitioners who would offer ‘treatments’ for conditions that cannot be treated,” Larry Goldstein, director of the UC San Diego Stem Cell Program, said.

“We are now starting to see reports of people coming back in worse shape than they went,” Goldstein said.

In one case, specialists described unusual masses that grew in the kidney of a woman given stem cell injections in Thailand. The injections did not cure her disease, and her kidney had to be removed after it developed uncontrolled growths of bone marrow stem cells, the Bee said.

However, a treatment or clinical trial should not be assumed to be dangerous or fraudulent simply because it is offered outside the United States, researchers say, noting first-rate stem cell research is going on in parts of Europe, in Japan, and China.

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