Leer en: Español

Stem Cells in Focus

Stem Cell Research: Promise, Progress & Hype

Guest Blogger Jan Barfoot, EuroStemCell

The melting pot of expectations, hope, responsibility, idealism and realism in the field of stem cell research were the subject of a panel discussion for media representatives at the recent annual meeting of the International Society of Stem Cell Research in Stockholm, titled “Stem Cell Research: Promise, Progress and Hype. The following article has been crafted from the comments of those speaking at this discussion: Timothy Caulfield, LL.M., Health Law Science Policy Group, University of Alberta, Ira Herrmann, Stem Cell Network NRW, Düsseldorf, Dan Kaufman, M.D., Ph.D., University of Minnesota, Megan Munsie, Ph.D., Stem Cells Australia and, Jeremy Sugarman, M.D., M.P.H., M.A., John Hopkins Berman Institute of Bioethics.

The public are surrounded by over-inflated representations of stem cell research and its readiness for therapeutic use.  We are told of leading sports figures benefiting from stem cell treatments, popular TV shows present stem cell treatments as available and effective, newspaper headlines announce stem cell cures and stem cells are used to market face creams, weight loss products and anti-aging cosmetic treatments.  These representations can be augmented by press office departments of research institutes, when results are widely publicized before the full scope of these results are understood.

With this backdrop of ‘stem cell treatments as here and ready use,’ people, when faced with an incurable condition with no therapeutic solutions, turn to stem cell research - which appears to be offering all the solutions. A simple Google search of “stem cell treatment” provides the seeker with confirmation that indeed, a stem cell therapy is available to them, it is ready to use and is a routine procedure.  This was how the scene was set at this event, by lawyer and ethicist, Tim Caulfield.  The problem, as he described it: so much that is promised by these clinics in many cases is not based in reality. Rather, it resides in the realm of future inflated expectations, or perhaps imaginings, and plays on people’s hope.  

But, is this hope harmless?  Even if there is scant scientific evidence for a procedure, does it matter if it gives someone hope and raison d’etre? In some cases no, it might indeed be harmless, if costly in terms of time, money and energy resources.  However there are potential damages, in some cases physical harm, in others the financial damages of those who pays for follow up care.  More subvertive still, is the erosion of public trust and the impact on the legitimacy of the entire field of stem cell research. 

Whilst it is exciting what stem cell science might offer in the future, Caulfield encouraged all of us to curtail our grand promises.  His recent article in Science Translational Medicine showed that 70% of the time media representations of stem cell science imply a treatment will be available in 5-10 years.  The message to journalists present at this discussion - exercise prudence when representing stem cell science, clinics lever these representations to market their products.

After Caulfield defined the scope of the problem and some of the drivers of this issue, Ira Hermann brought an interesting case study about a stem cell clinic in Germany, X-Cell Centre. The centre has recently been closed down, following the death and injury of children due to a surgical procedure used by the clinic.  You can read more about in this article by Casimir MacGregor on EuroStemCell.  She highlighted that the company worked within the regulatory systems of Germany and Europe, were well organized and situated in rented accommodation within a hospital.  How were people to know the treatment was problematic, if it was functioning within regulations? Hermann pointed out, one particular red flag to look out for is multiple conditions being treated with exactly the same stem cell product.

The next speaker, Megan Munsie, commented that Australia also has regulatory loopholes which allow stem cell clinics to function.  She posed the question: What can the scientific community do?  And proposed an answer: maintain and manage hope whilst keeping the hype in check.  She described one solution that has been provided by ISSCR, their recently launched website - A Closer Look at Stem Cells.  It describes how the scientific community takes responsible steps from basic research to clinical trials.  Other pages show how stem cells could be used in therapy but also how they are being used in research and for developing new drugs.  One particularly vital page on the website is ‘Nine Things to Know About Stem Cell Treatments,’ specifically for people considering paying for a stem cell treatment.  “Clinics imply they have a silver bullet – but complex conditions need a complex solution” was Munsie’s notable conclusion.

A final perspective was bought by Dan Kaufman, a scientist/clinician with expertise in blood stem cells.  He explained that bone marrow transplants are the only routine stem cell-based therapy worldwide.  It has been employed since the 1960s and is used for a number of blood disorders and diseases, including blood cancers. He also commented about umbilical cord blood banking and use, referring to his recent review on the subject.  He explained that whilst cord blood can be used for similar purposes as bone marrow transplants, it is his opinion that donation to public cord banks for communal use is preferable to storing cord blood in private banks for personal use only.  His reasoning is such; the odds that the child will use their cord blood are very small and if they did they would need at least two units of cord blood.  That second unit would need to come from a public cord blood bank.  So if everyone donated their cord blood to a public cord blood bank, there is a much greater chance of cord blood being a useful therapeutic product.

Kaufman finished by also commenting on the implications of people affected by incurable conditions paying for treatments from stem cell clinics, that he acknowledged for the most part want to help patients.  What about the rights of patients to choose to do this?  His opinion, if people are fully informed about the procedure, the risks of it and the science is accurately reflected, then their choice should be respected.  But if the science is not accurately reflected then there is an issue.

He finished by emphasizing that no one wants to stifle cutting edge and vital research but that new treatments should be tested as part of a clinical trial not within the walls of a for-profit clinic.  This way proper follow up care is provided and the clinical results are made available to the wider scientific community.  Then all can learn from, and build on, the research. 

Under these conditions we will really know what evidence we have for the future promise of stem cell-based treatments for incurable conditions. Which is, after all, what we all look toward.

8 comments

Leave a comment
  1. dedi galih wisnumurti | Nov 22, 2017
    Keep up the excellent work , I read few articles on this site and I think that your web blog is real interesting and Power to the People of excellent information.1. Jasa SEO2. Google SEO3. Pembuatan Website4. Google Adwords5. SEO6. WebsiteJasa SEOGoogle AdwordsPembuatan Website7. Sewa Villa di Puncak8. Villa di Puncak
  2. fdsa | Nov 18, 2017
    Amazing Article I must say.Do check out this detailed step by step guide on how to login to jiofi.local.html and change your id and password
  3. fafa | Nov 17, 2017
  4. rabia | Nov 16, 2017
    Thank you for your post, I look for such article along time, today I find it finally. This post gives me lots of advice it is very useful for me free gift codes generator
  5. dedi galih wisnumurti | Nov 16, 2017
    Nice post. I learn something more challenging on distinct blogs everyday. It will always be stimulating to read content off their writers and practice a little something from their store. I’d choose to use some with all the content in my small weblog whether you do not mind. Natually I’ll provide a link on your own internet weblog. Many thanks sharing.1. Jasa SEO2. Jasa SEO3. Google SEO4. Jasa Pembuatan WebsiteDAN INI TUKANG NYEPAM KAMI1. Sewa Villa Di Puncak2. Villa Puncak
  6. Phan Xuân | Nov 10, 2017
  7. NEHA | Oct 30, 2017
    This is an awesome post. I delighted in the data part. I will bookmark this page. Much obliged for sharing this data. Escorts Bangalore
  8. Trista Gao | Oct 26, 2017
    Penambahan kandungan karbon pada baja dapat meningkatkan kekerasan (hardness) dan kekuatan tariknya (tensile strength), namun di sisi lain membuatnya menjadi getas (brittle) serta menurunkan keuletannya (ductility). Baja Karbon Rendah (Low Carbon Steel) Supplier sch 40 Supplier sch 40 Supplier Plat kapal besi baja bki krakatau steel Supplier besi Pipa sch 80 baja jual hp asus murah jual hp asus murah Supplier besi beton Sni Ulir Polos undangan pernikahan ala jepang Pabrik Besi Pipa Baja Schedule 40 Toko Besi Unp Baja Supplier besi wf jual laptop asus jual laptop asus jual laptop asus murah jual laptop asus murah www.jualbesibajamurah.com Toko sch 40 Toko sch 40 Supplier besi siku Toko besi Pipa sch 80 baja Supplier besi wf baja undangan pernikahan islami Pabrik Pipa Besi Hitam Medium Jual Besi Unp Baja Toko besi wf Distributor besi beton Sni Ulir Polos polos ulir Agen sch 40 Agen sch 40 Supplier pipa besi baja sch 40 sch 80 Agen besi Pipa sch 80 baja Supplier besi unp undangan pernikahan ada fotonya Pabrik Besi Wf Harga Besi Unp Baja Agen besi wf Distributor besi beton sii Pabrik sch 40 Pabrik sch 40 Supplier Plat besi Pabrik besi Pipa sch 80 baja Supplier besi siku undangan pernikahan simple undangan pernikahan ala india Pabrik Besi H beam Pabrik Besi Unp Baja Pabrik besi wf Distributor besi beton psi Ulir Polos Distributor besi Pipa sch 80 baja Distributor besi Pipa sch 80 baja Supplier besi h beam Distributor Plat Bordes Supplier Plat besi plat kapal undangan pernikahan Pabrik Besi Beton Distributor Besi Cnp Baja Distributor Besi Beton Distributor besi beton perwira Harga besi Pipa sch 80 baja Harga besi Pipa sch 80 baja Supplier besi wf Harga Plat Bordes Supplier besi h beam baja undangan pernikahan simple www.sentrabesibaja.com Supplier Besi Cnp Baja Harga Besi Beton Distributor besi beton PAS Jual besi Pipa sch 80 baja Jual besi Pipa sch 80 baja Supplier wiremesh Jual Plat Bordes Supplier besi cnp undangan pernikahan bermanfaat Distributor Welded Beam T beam King Queen Cross Castellated Beam Agen Besi Cnp Baja Jual Besi Beton Distributor besi beton master steel ms Supplier besi Pipa sch 80 baja Supplier besi Pipa sch 80 baja Supplier besi unp Supplier Plat Bordes www.gudangbesibaja.com undangan pernikahan islami Distributor Bondek Cor Toko Besi Cnp Baja Supplier Besi Beton Distributor besi beton ksty Toko besi Pipa sch 80 baja Toko besi Pipa sch 80 baja Supplier besi cnp Toko Plat Bordes Pabrik besi Wf Baja undangan pernikahan amplop surat Distributor Atap Spandek Sni Jual Besi Cnp Baja Toko Besi Beton Distributor besi beton krakatau steel Agen besi Pipa sch 80 baja Agen besi Pipa sch 80 baja Supplier besi hollow Agen Plat Bordes Pabrik bondek undangan pernikahan bentuk dompet Distributor Plat Bordes Kembang Harga Besi Cnp Baja Agen Besi Beton Distributor besi beton jcac Pabrik besi Pipa sch 80 baja Pabrik besi Pipa sch 80 baja Supplier besi beton Sni Ulir Polos Pabrik Plat Bordes Pabrik wiremesh undangan pernikahan chinese Distributor Plat Besi Hitam Pabrik Besi Cnp Baja Pabrik Besi Beton Distributor besi beton interworld steel is Distributor Plat Bordes Distributor Plat Bordes ironsteelcenter.com Distributor Wiremesh Besi Pabrik pipa besi baja sch 40 sch 80 undangan pernikahan lucu Distributor Plat Kapal Bki Krakatau Steel Distributor Besi Hollow Baja Distributor besi hollow Distributor besi beton gunung garuda Harga Plat Bordes Harga Plat Bordes Pabrik stainless steel Harga Wiremesh Besi Pabrik besi hollow undangan pernikahan bagus Distributor Jual Besi Siku Baja Supplier Besi Hollow Baja Harga besi hollow Distributor besi beton delcoprima Jual Plat Bordes Jual Plat Bordes Pabrik atap spandek Jual Wiremesh Besi Pabrik besi beton Sni Ulir Polos undangan pernikahan bahasa inggris islam Distributor Besi Unp Baja Profil Kanal Agen Besi Hollow Baja Jual besi hollow Distributor besi beton cakra steel cs Supplier Plat Bordes Supplier Plat Bordes Pabrik baja ringan Supplier Wiremesh Besi Pabrik besi wf baja undangan pernikahan contoh Distributor Besi Cnp Profil Baja Gording Toko Besi Hollow Baja link6 

    Leave a comment