Stem Cell Tourism

En Español

Many stem cell clinics, both in the U.S. and in other countries, advertise cures—for a price. Understand the concerns over stem cell tourism and what CIRM is doing to bring real cures to patients who need them.

What is stem cell tourism?

There are growing numbers of clinics that have begun advertising unproven therapies at great cost to the patient and at great profit to the clinic—this is what’s referred to as stem cell tourism. But a closer look will often reveal no information about what type of stem cells are being offered. These predatory clinics also rely heavily on video testimonials from people soon after the stem cell injections, but little information about how those people fared long-term.

How have organizations such as CIRM increased awareness for stem cell tourism?

At the 2010, meeting of the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) in San Francisco, CIRM co-hosted a panel in which the world’s top experts discussed the steps leading to a stem cell therapy, and concerns about stem cell tourism.

At that panel, the ISSCR previewed their new web site designed to help patients and their families assess international clinics advertising stem cell cures.

CIRM is also one of 13 organizations who issued a joint advisory on stem cell tourism, which addresses questions about how to identify regulated stem cell clinical trials. You can read that advisory here.

In 2017 CIRM partnered with California State Senator Ed Hernandez (D-West Covina) to create a new law that attempts to address the issue. The bill, SB 512, requires medical clinics whose stem cell treatments are not FDA approved, to post notices and provide handouts to patients warning them about the potential risk.

Find out More:
A Dose of Reality on Alternative Stem Cell Treatments (video)
ISSCR: A closer look at stem cell treatments
The Power of Stem Cells