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The World in Medicine
July 16, 2008

Stem-Cell Tourism Caution

JAMA. 2008;300(3):271. doi:10.1001/jama.300.3.271-c

Prompted by concerns about patients traveling to countries such as China or Thailand in pursuit of unproven stem cell–based treatments for paralysis, cancer, heart failure, and other conditions, a task force assembled by the International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) has developed a draft set of guidelines to “ensure that best practices are applied to the clinical translation of stem cell research from the laboratory to humans” (http://www.isscr.org/press_releases/clin_guidelines.html). The draft guidelines also urge authorities to “prevent exploitation of vulnerable patients” in countries where practitioners are offering and charging patients for stem cell therapies outside an established clinical trial.