A Stem Cell scientist using a microscope

Data from clinical trials allows authorities in countries around the world to know that a treatment works and is safe. Different countries have different rules, although companies developing medicines aim to meet the requirements in each of those countries when conducting their trials.

In the UK new medicines are regulated by the MHRA. There is also a European regulatory authority named the European Medicines Agency (EMEA) and in America the regulatory authority is the Food and Drug administration (FDA).

However, the rules surrounding the use of stem cells varies and in many countries the rules are still being written. Even within the EU the rules on using stem cells are different, while in the US different states have different rules. Some countries have very strict rules on the use of stem cells, which effectively ban their use, while others have very few or no rules. This lack of international rules allows companies to set up in countries where there are few or no rules on the use of stem cells. By doing this they can offer stem cell treatments without proving they are safe or that they work (i.e. they haven’t done any clinical trials). This isn’t always clear on their website, so it’s important to understand what to look for when deciding whether or not to travel abroad for treatment.

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