I was flipping through Good Housekeeping today (yes I read it!) and was really happy to see the article, “Could a petri dish save your life?”
It was a well-written, well-researchered article about the emerging science behind the use of stem cells to treat disease. Much of the article focused on how to tell real treatments from scams, and they did a great job.
They included insets on warning signs that you’re dealing with a fraud, as well as stories from patient’s and their families- some of whom enrolled in bona fide medical trials, and others who were scammed out of thousands by charlatans selling them false home of stem cell based cures.
I’ve written in the past about how to ensure you’re getting your info from a reliable source, here.
Once source used in the Good Housekeeping article is the International Society for Stem Cell Research (of which I am a member). They have an entire site dedicated to public awareness and education on stem cells.
They also have a special section just for patients considering stem cell-based therapies. You can find that site, “A closer look at stem cell treatments: Considering stem cell treatment?” It includes what to look for, what to look out for, questions to ask, even a downloadable/printable handbook patients can take with them to appointments.
The ISSCR used to allow the public to submit the names of clinics advertising stem cell therapies for review to see if their claims stand up to scrutiny from the scientific community. Not surprisingly, the inquiries unleashed an avalanche of legal threats from clinics. Despite their efforts being entirely legal, the ISSCR was forced to stop the program or face a paralyzing onslaught of litigation.
As always, know your sources. Do your background research. Don’t let fear or hope blind you to realities.
Bravo to Good Housekeeping for a tackling such an important topic and doing a great job presenting a complex issue in such clear way.