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Medical community looks to stop growth of deceptive stem cell tourism

Excerpt from Harvard Gazette

Dec 01, 2012 1:37 am

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Medical tourism has been incredibly profitable for several foreign nations, but certain treatments aimed at offering very sick patients expensive, last-minute solutions almost always rely on methods that aren’t available or are banned in their home country.

— Samantha Shankman

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There are clinics all around the world — but especially in China, India, the Caribbean, Latin America, and nations of the former Soviet Union — that will provide stem cell treatments for…long-intractable conditions. Thousands, if not tens of thousands, of desperate people are flocking to clinics that charge tens of thousands of dollars for every unproven treatment.

…patients flock from all over the world to the Harvard-affiliated…hospitals…for cutting-edge, scientifically validated treatments for a host of diseases. But then there is the other kind of medical tourism that…“hurts the legitimacy of the entire field” of stem cell science and medicine.

Daley, a member of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute’s executive committee…accused the clinics of “financial exploitation” of desperate people, and said those who raise money to finance pilgrimages to them are “raising money to turn over to a fraud.”

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