Stem Cell Tourism in the news

The issue of stem cell tourism has gotten a lot of attention in the past few weeks. Two weeks ago, the Costa Rica health ministry closed down a clinic offering unproven stem cell therapies (here is our blog entry on this event, and a video about stem cell tourism). Last week, CIRM and ISSCR co-hosted a public seminar on stem cell tourism, at which the ISSCR revealed their fantastic new site alerting the public to the issue of stem cell tourism.

The new ISSCR site has some useful content, but also allows people to enter the name of a clinic which the ISSCR will then investigate and report on. People should bookmark the site and pass it along to friends or family members who are considering traveling for unproven stem cell therapies.

Finally, last week a woman died from complications resulting from a stem cell transplant in Thailand to treat a kidney disease. Many publications carried stories about her death, including Discover, which wrote:

The woman suffered from lupus nephritis, a disease in which the immune system attacks the kidneys. When medications no longer controlled her disease, she went to a still-unnamed clinic in Bangkok where doctors said they could treat her disease using stem cells drawn from her own bone marrow.

New Scientist and Nature also both carried stories about this case.