“Rogue stem cell therapy operators’, “Stem Cell methods untested by trials”. These are just some of the many headlines used by the media in recent months.
Oscar Wilde once said that “there is only one thing worse than being talked about and that is NOT being talked about”. We disagree with this – the worst thing is being incorrectly associated with what people are talking about.
The problem lies in the term ‘stem cells’. Stem cells is a label that people are familiar with – there is a general understanding in the community of the regenerative potential of `stem cells’. The real truth however is that the regenerative capabilities of these cells will differ depending upon where they are taken from, how many are used and how they are administered. Not all ‘stem cells’ and not all `stem cell therapies’ are the same. `Oils aint Oils’
Professor Martin Pera of Stem Cell Australia has attempted in recent interviews to make a clear distinction between accepted `stem cell therapies’ and what he has termed a ”crude preparation of fat” used by some clinics. Whilst recent poor media attention has been justified they have incorrectly reported such clinics as using stem cell therapies as opposed to the correct observation that they are in fact using ‘crude’ therapies that do not resemble and should not be associated with stem cells.
To this effect the National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC) and Stem Cells Australia have released warnings on supposed ‘stem cell’ therapies that are offered within Australia. We applaud the initiative taken by such groups and share the concern that the misdirected use of therapies which are incorrectly included within the umbrella term of ‘stem cells’ will only serve to harm and prevent the development of a therapy that holds enormous promise.
In the area of arthritis pure stem cells therapies have been shown to improve cartilage volume and cartilage quality. `Crude’ cell therapies have not.
At Melbourne Stem Cell Centre we are committed to developing only proven therapies. We aim for every patient to be treated within an ethics committee approved trial environment with strict regulation of treatment and follow-up.
Publicity is publicity, we at MSCC do intend to be talked about, but only for all the right reasons.