Based on a thorough review of social media, newspaper articles and scientific publications, a role for internet in influencing stem cell tourism has emerged. A tally of data from these sources suggests an increase in the number of patients exploring stem cell tourism under the pretext of “Management of Hope”. Potential participants should, however, be informed of the risk factors involved with the usage of unregulated and unproven stem cell therapies. This session will also caution clinicians and researchers in other countries to exercise restraint in using or recommending any unregulated stem cell products.
This session has three main objectives: first to educate attendees on the background, history and current trends in Stem Cell Tourism - the unregulated commercial stem-cell industry, a practice that is not only potentially harmful to individual patients but also undermines attempts to study stem-cell therapies in clinical trials. The Program Chair, Dr. Indira Guleria, will give this introductory lecture. She will discuss the perils of stem cell tourism by discussing her collaborative study (NEJM 2016) where glioproliferative lesions developed in a patient who received stem cell infusions.
Second, attendees will learn about clinical research in neurodegenerative diseases. Diseases such as traumatic brain injury, macular degeneration, cerebral palsy are common targets of stem cell tourism. These diseases have also been linked to serious complications arising because of stem cell tourism. Invited to talk about these diseases is Dr. Sally Temple, Director of the Neural Stem Cell Institute who is an expert on use of cellular therapy in neurodegenerative disease conditions.
Finally, attendees of this session will be introduced to the regulatory, legislative and ethical aspects of Stem cell Tourism. Regulation of stem cell therapy and enforcement of pre-existing legislation varies from country to country and has allowed stem cell tourism to outpace legislation in various countries. We plan to invite Dr. Henry Greely who is a Professor of Law at Stanford University and specializes in ethical, legal, and social issues arising from advances in the biosciences, particularly in human stem cell research to address the regulatory aspect of stem cell tourism.
Describe the concept of stem cell tourism and learn about the current trends and the role of social media in spread of this industry
Discuss issues and risks involved in using unproven stem cell therapies for various conditions, especially neurologic diseases
Recognize the regulatory, legislative and ethical issues associated with unregulated stem cell therapies being used across different countries
MS, MT(ASCP)SBB, CQA, ASQ,
Department of Transfusion Medicine