Safety call over stem cell trips

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A clampdown on unproven and potentially unsafe stem cell research is being called for by an expert group.
Bionet, a group of expert Chinese and European doctors, lawyers and bioethicists, says countries throughout the world must develop more effective regulation for this emerging science (…)

They had provided a wealth of anecdotal evidence about their concerns that stem cell research was being moved too rapidly into clinical practice without proper study.
He said: “The key is informed consent. Doctors should be able to tell the patient about the short-term and long-term prognosis and the things we don’t know about the risks.”

Bionet is recommending that the safety and efficiency of stem cell treatments is investigated through state-of-the-art clinical trials before they are offered to patients (…)

And there should be quality standards for stem cells used in clinical practice.
These should include the bacterial and viral contamination applied during the production of the stem cells.

China introduced new regulations in May calling for clinical trials before stem cell treatments were offered to patients.
Professor Qui Renzong, vice-president of the ethics committee at the Chinese Ministry of Health, said: “In China there are about 150 institutions now providing stem cell therapy for diabetes through to spinal injuries.” (…)

“When stem cell ‘treatments’ are based overseas, regulatory oversight and jurisdiction is particularly problematic.
We take this very seriously and strongly encourage anyone considering participating in overseas stem cell ‘research trials’ or buying internet treatments to talk to their doctor and follow health guidelines.”

from http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/8234206.stm

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