Treatment Abroad

Travel Advisory: The Dangers of Stem Cell Tourism

The scientific discoveries and innovations surrounding the potential of stem cell science have led to great enthusiasm about the benefits it could bring people.

The dark side of that enthusiasm is the hype, exaggerated publicity and inaccurate claims in the interest of financial gain.

Click here for the handbook What you need to know about stem cell therapies

People may develop unrealistic expectations of the benefits available from stem cell research and the speed with which they will be achieved.

Unfortunately, there will always be individuals and companies eager to take advantage of the necessary lag between research and clinical applications to offer the promise of so-called cures and therapies.

Many of these treatments are not based on sound scientific evidence, for example, this 2008 Stem Cell Network-funded study of the online marketing of 19 stem cell clinics found that the clinics’ claims of safe, effective and routine therapies were not substantiated by published evidence.

Patients considering these therapies are encouraged to review the information available at Closer look at stem cells, a website created by the International Society of Stem Cell Research. Other statements on experimental therapies have been published by the German Stem Cell Network North Rhine Westphalia and the National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia.

Prof. Timothy Caulfield addresses the problem of websites marketing unproven stem cell therapies. Find out more here.