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International Committee Recommends Stringent Guidelines for Translating Stem Cell Therapies From the Lab Bench to the Bedside
Date:6/12/2008

PHILADELPHIA, June 12 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Internet is rife with provider Web sites and patient testimonials touting exciting new stem cell treatments for paralysis, Parkinson's disease, heart failure and cancer. And every year, desperately ill patients travel thousands of miles to seek experimental stem cell therapies with bold claims of cures for such intractable diseases.

Few, if any, of these putative treatments are based on sound pre-clinical data that have been published in peer-reviewed journals. Today, there are no proven treatments based on stem cells other than those for blood disorders, like leukemia and immune deficiencies. All other stem cell treatments are still highly experimental.

At the sixth annual meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research, a task force of leaders in the field announced a draft set of guidelines to ensure that rigorous best practices are applied to the clinical translation of stem cell research from the laboratory to human subjects. The guidelines are the culmination of months of discussion by scientists, ethicists, public policymakers, clinicians, industry representatives and members of the public from 13 countries. (The full guidelines will be posted at http://www.isscr.org.)

"These guidelines are critically important to the future success of the field," according to Dr. George Q. Daley, ISSCR president and associate director of the Stem Cell Program at Children's Hospital Boston. "Not only does the use of untested therapies put patients at risk, it jeopardizes the legitimate practice of all translational stem cell research."

In strongly worded language, the guidelines "condemn" the use of stem cell therapies outside of an established clinical trial, particularly when patients are charged for "advertised medical services that constitute experimental, unproven and unestablished interventions." The guidelines call upon re
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SOURCE International Society for Stem Cell Research
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