“Gianvito Martino, the head of the Neurosciences division at the Institute of San Raffaele in Milan in a speech at Multiple Sclerosis Week, which took place from May 23-31, warned against “trips of hope to clinics that promise effective treatments using stem cells”.
According to Martino, who coordinated a Consensus Conference on last Tuesday in London on theneurodegenerative disease, where the guidelines for pre-clinical studies and clinical treatments with stem cells were defined, “hundreds of Italian patients each year go on these trips due to cures that are promised. In the best-case scenario, these patients return in the same condition in which they departed, but with a little bit less money. However, there are also many cases of infections and tumors.”
These stem cell clinics are found in various countries all over the world, including China, Thailand, the Dominican Republic, Manila, and Barbados. “They assure 40%-50% effectiveness and that they are able to treat any type of problem, from baldness to Alzheimer’s as well as muscular sclerosis, but they do not say anything about the type and quality of stem cells that they use. They use the placebo effect to indicate very few positive outcomes, but in the end, no one knows what is responsible for the cures.” Martino thinks that in many cases patients are given water instead of stem cells, or cortisone in order to give a few days of perceived improvements and to feed the illusion.