Search the internet for stem cell treatments or stem cells cures and you will find dozens of companies around the world offering stem cells based therapies claiming to cure a huge range of diseases, or repair damaged tissues. These include the ability to regenerate nerve tissue to treat spinal cord injuries, treat common conditions such as Alzheimers, Parkinsons, Huntigntons, cerebral palsy, muscular dystrophy, autism, brain damage and cardiovascular disease (heart disease), and even cure other rare, genetic/hereditary conditions such as Machado Joseph disease, all of which are currently incurable. These websites appear professional and are packed with patient testimonials demonstrating how successful their treatments are.
Sadly these websites prey on vulnerable and desperate people, who seem their claims of a cure as their only hope. Charging huge sums for treatment, they often operate in countries with few or no regulations (such as China, Latin American and Eastern European states), which allows them to offer untested and unregulated treatments. This means that in addition to there being no guarantee of success, some of these treatments may also be potentially harmful. Having paid for travel, accommodation and treatment, once these treatments have finished there is little or no follow-up with the clinic and no chance of help or recourse if things do go wrong. While it is easy to say not to trust these websites, it is more important to allow people to make their own, informed decision. To do that it is important to understand more about how stem cell treatments are developed and regulated