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Frontiers of Medicine

ISSN 2095-0217

ISSN 2095-0225(Online)

CN 11-5983/R

Postal Subscription Code 80-967

2018 Impact Factor: 1.847

Front Med    2011, Vol. 5 Issue (4) : 348-355     DOI: 10.1007/s11684-011-0150-x
The unregulated commercialization of stem cell treatments: a global perspective
Douglas Sipp()
Research Unit for Science Policy and Ethics Studies, RIKEN Center for Developmental Biology, 2-2-3 Minatojima Minamimachi, Chuo-ku, Kobe 650-0047, Japan
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Research into the biological properties and clinical potential of stem cells has spurred strong public investment, industry development, media coverage, and patient interest in recent years. To date, however, few clinical applications of demonstrated safety and efficacy have been developed with the exception of uses of hematopoietic stem cells in the treatment of diseases of the blood and immune systems. This lack of an evidence basis notwithstanding, hundreds of companies and private clinics around the world now sell putative stem cell treatments for an enormously broad range of medical and quality-of-life conditions. This represents a major challenge for legitimate scientists working in the field, for authorities seeking to protect their constituencies, and for patients and consumers targeted by such companies’ marketing strategies. In this review, I provide an overview of the global industry in pseudomedical stem cell treatments, with an investigation of claims in a single disease area (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), and make recommendations for the introduction and enforcement of appropriate regulatory responses to this problem.

Keywords stem cell tourism      medical ethics      stem cell policy and regulation      alternative medicine     
Corresponding Authors: Sipp Douglas,   
Issue Date: 05 December 2011
URL:     OR
NameLocationCell type usedDelivery methodCost
Beike BiotechnologyChinaAllogeneic umbilical cord blood-derived stem cells (Beike also uses umbilical cord- and autologous bone marrow-derived stem cells)Multiple (IV, lumbar puncture)$26 300 USD for initial six injections
Chaitanya Stem Cell Therapy CenterIndiaAutologous bone marrow; Fetal stem cellsIntrathecal/intralesional injection$6 000- $12 000 (bone marrow); $16 000 (fetal)
EmCellRussiaFetal stem cellsNot listedNot listed
Integra Medical CenterMexicoPlacenta stem cellsImplantation in “different areas according to the patient's condition”; often in combination with acupunctureNot listed
Nova Cells InstituteMexicoAutologous bone marrow-derived stem cellsNot listedNot listed
Stem Cell Rejuvenation CenterUSAAdipose-derived stem cellsMultiple (IV, in situ, IM, intranasal)$8 750 USD
Stem Cells 21ThailandAdipose-derived stem cellsIV/IM injection$18 000 USD
StemProCellUSAAdipose-derived stem cells (processed using Adistem system)Not listedNot listed
TissüSeychellesMesenchymal stem cellsIV injectionNot listed
Wu Stem Cells Medical CenterChinaNeural stem cellsMultiple (lumbar puncture, intracerebral injection)Not listed
XCell-CenterGermanyAutologous bone marrow-derived cellsIV injection co-administered with mannitol7 995 euros (adult);9 000 euros (child)
Tab.1  Companies marketing stem cell treatments for amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS)*
1 PROCHYMAL? (Human Adult Stem Cells) for the Treatment of Recently Diagnosed Type 1 Diabetes Mellitus (T1DM). Osiris Therapeutics. NCT00690066
2 Study of Human Central Nervous System Stem Cells (HuCNS-SC) in Patients With Thoracic Spinal Cord Injury. Stem Cells Inc. NCT01321333
3 Pilot Investigation of Stem Cells in Stroke (PISCES). ReNeuron Ltd. NCT01151124
4 Autologous Mesenchymal Stem Cell (MSC) Transplantation in MS. The Cleveland Clinic. NCT00813969
5 XCell-Center. K?ln/Düsseldorf, Germany.
6 Nova Cells Institute. Mexico.
7 Wu Stem Cells Medical Center. Beijing, China.
8 Rejuvenare. Dominican Republic.
9 EmCell. Kiev, Ukraine.
10 Stem Cell Therapies. USA/Mexico.
11 CellPort Clinic. Yokohama, Japan.
12 RecoverUp Stem cell Hair Regeneration. Scotland, UK.
13 Repair Stem Cell Institute. Bangkok, Thailand.
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