The use of stem cells to treat patients is not new. Stem cells found in bone marrow and in umbilical cord blood have been used to help patients with diseases of the blood and immune system, or to counter the effects of chemotherapy, for many years.
In Australia and around the world stem cell research is also progressing with a growing number of clinical trials underway to test whether other types of stem cells can help patients with other conditions regain function or halt the progression of a disease. Importantly in the clinical trials, researchers and doctors are making sure that any new stem cell treatment will be safe before being widely adopted. Click here to find out more about the latest stem cell clinical trials.
However, what is concerning many doctors and stem cell scientists is that there are already clinics and companies that are already offering stem cell treatments without having first thoroughly tested their proposed therapies. These treatments are offered outside accepted medical practice, are promoted via patient testimonials and are very expensive. Worryingly, because the offered treatment have not been thoroughly tested, they may pose health risks for the patient.
Before embarking on any treatment it is important you get the facts and all your options with your doctor. Remember the testimonial from a patient is not scientific proof that it works.
To learn more about stem cells, how and why clinical trials are used to evaluate new treatments and the issues you should consider before seeking experimental, unproven stem cell therapies please visit our Patient Information or watch Clinical trials and stem cells: what patients should consider and Stem Cell Tourism from our video library. Please also contact us for further information or clarification.
If you have travelled abroad for stem cell treatment as a patient or a carer, or you have considered travelling abroad but perhaps decided against it, you maybe interested in participating in our stem cell tourism resesarch project. Click here to find out more about what's involved.