Reputable Resources about Stem Cells & Stem Cell Therapies
Stem cell biology and regenerative medicine are exciting areas of scientific research, with lots of buzz in the media everyday. But unfortunately the great hopes stem cells bring to the future of medicine have been matched by a dangerous amount of hype, with many unproven and unregulated centres offering stem cell "therapies" that have not been properly tested for safety or efficacy.
Note that there is no one best stem cell for everything -- there are many different sources and types of stem cells that much each be rigorously tested for long-term safety and efficacy in every specific use case. Below are some of the most authoritative and reputable resources compiled by experts in the stem cell field. Please consider reviewing them with your healthcare team before undergoing any procedures related to stem cells.
"Nine Things to Know About Stem Cell Treatments" by the International Society for Stem Cell Research
The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) is an independent, nonprofit membership organization comprising nearly 4000 members including physicians, stem cell researchers, and industry professionals. They were established to promote and foster the exchange and dissemination of information and ideas relating to stem cells, to encourage the general field of research involving stem cells and to promote professional and public education in all areas of stem cell research and application. Their annual meeting in June is where all of the latest and most sophisticated stem cell research wis discussed by top professionals in the field. Follow them on Twitter for updates.
The Canadian Stem Cell Foundation is an independent, non-profit charitable organization that champions stem cell science for the health of humanity, and builds Canada’s role as a stem cell leader. It brings together scientists, business and community leaders, and the public, with aim to accelerate the process of turning stem cell research in Canada into clinical applications and therapies. The resource linked above contains information on progress for various diseases, and a link to more general information on clinical trials related to stem cells.
"Beware the Hype on Stem Cell Breakthroughs" by Prof. Timothy Caulfield
Prof Caulfield's piece in The Globe and Mail cautions against "experimental" aka unproven stem cell clinics, and gives some tips on how to tell the true innovators from those exploiting the latest trends in biomedical research. Timothy Caulfield is a Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy, and a world renown researcher on health policy and bioethics, particularly those related to stem cell therapies.
"Selling Stem Cells in the USA: Assessing the Direct-to-Consumer Industry" by Dr. Leigh Turner and Dr. Paul Knoepfler
Dr. Leigh Turner is an Associate Professor at the University of Minnesota Center for Bioethics, and Dr. Paul Knoepfler is a stem cell scientist and communicator who runs a lab at the University of California Davis School of Medicine. Dr. Paul Knoeplfer runs the world renown blog about stem cells "The Niche", which aims to better connect everyone with the latest in stem cell research. The link above will take you to an article Drs. Turner and Knoepfler co-wrote about the prevalence of Internet-based marketing claims of unregulated stem cell clinics in the USA.