Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Another Reason to Think Twice Before Getting an Injection of Fetal Stem Cells

Israeli researchers have discovered that fetal stem cells injected into a boy with Ataxia Telangiectasia caused tumors to grow in his head and spinal cord. There are more details in this Medical News Today article.
The boy underwent stem cell therapy at a Moscow clinic, starting in 2001 when he received several injections of fetal neural stem cells into his brain and surrounding fluid. But after having an MRI scan at the Sheba Medical Center in Israel in 2005 because of recurrent headaches, the boy was found to have abnormal growths in his brain and spinal cord.

Surgeons removed the growth on the boy's spinal cord in September 2006, when he was 14 years old. The growth on the spine has not reappeared but the mass in the brain has continued to grow slowly....

The authors concluded that the findings:

"Do not imply that the research in stem cell therapeutics should be abandoned. They do, however, suggest that extensive research into the biology of stem cells and in-depth preclinical studies, especially of safety, should be pursued in order to maximize the potential benefits of regenerative medicine while minimizing the risks."

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