Many stem cell therapies and many drugs using stem cells are currently being investigated in clinical trials, which are approved by the FDA. In these trials, a minimum of one out of every two patients receives a placebo treatment. When the study closes (which may take years) and the treatment is proven to be safe and effective, “crossover” is permitted so that the patients who received the placebo can receive the adult stem cell treatment.
Other Studies and Patient Treatments
Studies using stem cells which are simply transferred from one part of the body to another without manipulation are approved for use under the practice of medicine if performed by qualified physicians. Treatments involving the manipulation of tissue containing stem cells may also be performed with approval of an IRB, or Institutional Review Board. These are boards set up by hospitals and other community medical organizations, and consist of a panel of experts who review an experimental medical procedure to ensure that standards of safety are being met. Every country has their own independent laws and regulations regarding stem cell treatments, and there are reputable centers in countries where placebo’s are not required and patients can be sure to received the actual stem cell treatment.
The best way to access stem cell medical therapies is through reputable physicians and approved clinical trials. For an up-to-date listing of clinical trials you can log on to www.ClinicalTrials.gov, a service of the U.S. National Institutes of Health. This site lets you search for open clinical trials both in the US and overseas for treatment of specific diagnoses. You can search by clinical condition, or under broader categories, such as ‘stem cells’ and ‘regenerative medicine.’ Another reputable website is Center Watch (www.centerwatch.com) which lists thousands of industry-sponsored clinical trials that are actively recruiting patients. You can search the site by medical condition, therapy or location. Like ClinicalTrials.gov, the site lists all medical clinical trials.