A Stem Cell scientist using a microscope

It is important that anyone considering any medical intervention is provided with enough information to make an informed decision about whether that treatment is right for them. However, it is difficult to know whether treatments offered in other countries and being sold online are safe or effective. But there are a few things you can look out for:

Any website which relies purely on patient testimonials is unlikely to have performed clinical trials and the treatments they offer may not be safe or effective.

These websites may also use data from published papers showing evidence from in vitro or in vivo animal studies to prove that their treatment works. However, it is important to remember that these papers may by researchers not associated with the company, and that animal studies do not mean that a treatment is safe or effective in humans.

It may be unclear what is involved in the treatment, or where the cells used in the treatment come from. If it is, you should be able to request more information.

The same treatment is offered for a wide range of conditions. You would expect different diseases to have different treatments. Researchers routinely develop treatments for only one condition at a time and perform clinical trials to prove it is safe and effective for that condition. Any company suggesting that the same cells used in the same way can cure any condition are highly unlikely to have evidence to back up their claims and their treatment probably wont work.

The cost of treatment is unclear. If you are considering travelling abroad for treatment you will be expected to pay the costs of transport and accommodation. The treatment being offered is also likely to be expensive (tens of thousands of pounds) and may take weeks. So the overall cost is likely to be very high. Consider whether you are happy to pay all that money for something which may not work and may be harmful.

While it is difficult to find out all this information, there are a number of websites you can use to help inform your decision and you can find a list of these websites here.