#unprovenstemcelltreatments; #LeighTurner; #HealthCanada; #RegenerativeMedicine; #Food and Drug Act
Ottawa, Sep 27 (Canadian-Media): According to a study published yesterday numerous unlicensed clinics in Canada were offering unproven stem cell treatments for a wide variety of medical conditions, media reports said.
Stem cells give rise to many different cell types in the body and offer the potential for treating a wide array of diseases.
But rigorous research is still needed to determine the efficacy of these treatments, said regenerative medicine experts.
Leigh Turner, Canadian-born researcher, and an associate professor at the University of Minnesota's Center for Bioethics was able to identified 30 businesses marketing stem cell therapies at 43 clinics, unapproved by Health Canada -- the federal department of Canada responsible for national public health -- across the country.
Turner's study, published Wednesday in the journal Regenerative Medicine, involved an extensive online search for direct-to-consumer websites offering stem cell therapies to Canadians.
Turner researched 24 Clinics, advocating their treatments over the internet offering stem cell treatments for orthopedic and musculoskeletal conditions and sports-related injuries including, 24 in Ontario -- 17 clinics in the Greater Toronto Area (which includes Toronto and nearby cities) alone -- eight in British Columbia, six in Alberta, three in Quebec, one each in Nova Scotia and Saskatchewan.
It was also found out that patients typically paid large amount of money from their own pocket as the services of these clinics are also not covered by provincial health insurance plans.
And in some cases, such unresearched interventions can do harmful, Turner said.
Turner's paper challenged Health Canada to enforce regulations and to crack down on clinics making claims about effectiveness that are not based on scientific evidence.
Health Canada had ordered to stop illegal practices of a few clinics and is following up on other clinics and added any non-compliance to these orders would be strictly dealt with.
Under the Food and Drug Act, all stem cells therapies are considered drugs and must meet specific requirements before they can be marketed in Canada.
Only one advanced stem cell product, Prochymal for the treatment of graft-versus-host disease, has been approved for sale in Canada.
(Reporting by Asha Bajaj)