Rice University Paper: End 'Stem Cell Tourism'
Houston, TX – The continued marketing and use of experimental stem cell-based interventions inside and outside the United States is problematic and unsustainable, according to a new paper by science policy and bioethics experts at Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy and Wake Forest University. Disillusioned patients, tired of waiting for the cures they were promised, are seeking unproven stem cell-based treatments that are causing more harm than good, said the experts, who argue that public policy is needed to reduce this form of “stem cell tourism.”
The paper, “Unproven Stem Cell-based Interventions and Achieving a Compromise Policy Among the Multiple Stakeholders,” was co-authored by Kirstin Matthews, a lecturer in natural sciences at Rice and fellow in science and technology policy at the Baker Institute, and Ana Iltis, a professor of philosophy and director of Wake Forest’s Center for Bioethics, Health and Society. It was published online in the journal BMC Medical Ethics.
“The current landscape of stem cell tourism should prompt a re-evaluation of current approaches to study cell-based interventions with respect to the design, initiation and conduct of U.S. clinical trials,” the authors wrote. “Stakeholders, including scientists, clinicians, regulators and patient advocates, need to work together to find a compromise to keep patients in the U.S. and within the clinical-trial process.”
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