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Medical News & Perspectives
August 8, 2012

Groups Propose Plan to Accredit Controversial Stem Cell Therapy Clinics

JAMA. 2012;308(6):553-555. doi:10.1001/jama.2012.7959

A group representing stem cell clinicians and the AABB, formerly the American Association of Blood Banks, in late May announced a plan to offer accreditation to clinics that offer stem cell–based treatments for a range of conditions, but the plan has been met with skepticism by some researchers, who argue very few stem cell therapies are ready for clinical use.

The proliferation of clinics offering stem cell treatments for dozens of conditions, ranging from autism to chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, has raised concerns among stem cell researchers, ethicists, and the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Most such clinics operate outside the United States, so they do not need FDA permission to conduct clinical trials involving stem cell treatments or to market stem cell treatments to patients, but many of the clinics recruit patients from the United States.