Stem cell treatments have long been known as something you must travel to exotic locations to receive. Commercial clinics offer high hopes and promise miracle treatments. New research released June 30 notes that destination treatments are changing as clinics are propagating in the United States.
A study published in the journal Cell Stem Cell found at least 351 businesses operating 570 stem cell clinics in the country. Many offer services that treat a wide range of illnesses.
Stem cells, known as master cells, are specialized cells in the body that multiply and evolve with great potential for healing. For decades, the FDA has approved the use of blood stem cells to treat leukemia and other blood disorders. Stem cells can be difficult to control, sometimes causing tumors and other complications.
Stem cell clinics offer treatment for a great variety of diseases including ALS, muscular dystrophy, Parkinson’s disease and Alzheimer’s, diabetes, and ophthalmological diseases. Thirty-three clinics say they treat muscular dystrophy and nine autism and cerebral palsy. The International Society for Stem Cell Research warns that most of these treatments are still experimental.
Research is currently being done on using stem cells to treat ailments from stroke and heart disease to bone fractures and other, but most treatments are still in clinical trials. The FDA is cracking down on stem cell clinics, but without consistent regulation and enforcement, more of these businesses will sprout. Some are worried that the negative results from the unregulated stem cell clinics may undermine credible research that is underway.
When considering stem cell therapy, patients need to educate themselves on procedures and the science behind them. Stem cell therapy is available on MediBid, where the procedure background and education of physicians and facilities is easy to access.
Tan, Zhai Yun. “American ‘Stem Cell Tourists’ Don’t Have To Travel Abroad, Study Says.” News. Kaiser Health News. 1 Jul 2016. Web. 4 Jul 2016.