Monday, July 26, 2010
A new resource for information on stem cell therapies.
There was a very good NPR story this morning on Morning edition on both the scientific potential of stem cell therapies and the false hope and outright quackery being offered to desperate people by stem cell clinics, especially overseas in places like China. The story did an unusually good job of reporting on the current use of stem cell therapies and the unscientific, premature, and possibly even fraudulent clinics that have erupted all around the world in recent years. They also mentioned a new website started by the International Society for Stem Cell Research that does a good job explaining the state of the science of stem cell therapy, and more importantly has a place for people to submit the names of clinics and stem cell therapy claims for evaluation by experts in the field of stem cell research. This site seems to be oriented toward human stem cell therapies, but could still be useful for veterinary information due to overlap between human and veterinary medicine. The premature and fraudulent use of stem cell therapies in human medicine is a far larger problem than it is in veterinary medicine, but these researchers may also have knowledge of veterinary applications of stem cell research. Once the initial evaluations of human clinics are done, I hope they will look into the veterinary claims as well. The site should be a valuable resource for science-based information in any case and will be worth keeping an eye on as evaluations of clinics are published.