Call by ISSCR for greater caution about unproven autologous stem cell treatments

19 September 2013
While the use of the patient’s own cells, referred to as autologous cell therapies, has much to offer and is already used to treat some very specific conditions and diseases, wider clinical use is yet to be shown to be safe and effective. 

Despite this lack of evidence, patients around the world - including in Australia - are increasingly being offered unproven ‘stem cell’ treatments at significant expense.

In a welcomed move, the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) has called for regulators, patient advocacy organisations, doctors, and others to discourage the sale of unproven treatments using the patient’s own stem cells.

In the statement issues this week, the ISSCR caution that until a new treatment has been proven to be safe and effective, it should be viewed as unethical and unprofessional to market treatments or interventions directly to patients.

They also highlighted the need for preclinical studies and controlled clinical trials in developing any medical product including autologous cell-based interventions before such treatment is broadly adopted into clinical practice.

While ISSCR condemns the use of unproven stem cells to large series of patients outside of clinical trials, particularly when patients are charged for such services, they do acknowledge that innovative uses maybe appropriate, however only in very limited situations where specific circumstances are met.

Click here to read the full ISSCR Statement of Delivery of Unproven Autologous Cell-based Interventions to Patients.