Scientific discoveries can lead to great enthusiasm about their potential medical benefits. A danger is that this enthusiasm may lead to hype and exaggerated claims of near-term benefits. In the realm of stem cell research, excitement about the benefits of this field have led to a variety of clinics opening around the world that offer therapies that are not yet proven to be safe or effective. When patients travel nationally or internationally to obtain unproven stem cell therapies it is known as "stem cell tourism". This video aims to explain this term in a brief and concise format.
If you are considering obtaining a cellular therapy, please consult the resources below to find our more information regarding the potential risks.
Stem Cell Network: Stem cell hype and the dangers of stem cell tourism - http://www.stemcellnetwork.ca/index.php?page=stem-cell-hype-and-the-dangers-of-stem-cell-tourism
International Society for Stem Cell Research's "A Closer Look at Stem Cells" - http://www.closerlookatstemcells.org/
In the past 50 years, stem cell research has led to some groundbreaking therapies including bone marrow transplantation and skin grafting. Today, stem cell research continues to hold the promise of new treatments for many diseases.
However most of these potential treatments are still experimental.
Any experimental therapy must first be carefully tested to make sure it is both safe and effective before it is approved for patients.
This testing process normally takes several years during which time many experimental treatments may fail because they are unsafe, ineffective or both.
Despite this, clinics throughout the world offer untested and potentially dangerous stem-cell-based treatments, usually at a high cost to the patient. As a result, these locations have become a destination for stem cell tourism - where hopeful patients travel internationally to seek unapproved stem cell therapies.
Before patients spend time and money, they should familiarize themselves with the facts and think twice about obtaining expensive treatments that have not yet been proven safe or effective.
Narration by: Professor Timothy Caulfield
Written & Directed by: Ben Paylor & Mike Long
Produced by: Infoshots - infoshots.ca
Animation by: David Murawsky - davidmurawsky.com/
Sound by: James Wallace - http://imdb.com/name/nm0908691/
Funding by: Stem Cell Network and Canadian Stem Cell Foundation