Human Exceptionalism

Life and dignity with Wesley J. Smith.

Beware of Overseas Stem Cell Quackery


A New Zealand woman who went to China to get fetal tissue therapies for her ALS (motor neuron disease) has died. Allegedly, there was an early improvement and then she slipped back into the disease. This reminds me of the Korean umbilical cord blood patient who apparently got onto her feet after years of paralysis, only to see the treatment benefit short lived and then to suffer an infection upon a second therapy attempt.

For all of the hype about cures, it seems to me that much of this will be about alleviating symptoms. Which is a great thing. But we also have to be patient. Regenerative medicine needs to be worked through experimentally in animal studies and, when ready, controlled human experiments. Rushing into treatments before they have shown reasonable safety and efficacy could leave the patient worse off than before.


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