Cell therapies hold significant promise for the treatment of injured or diseased musculoskeletal tissues. However, despite advances in research, there is growing concern about the increasing number of clinical centres around the world that are making unwarranted claims or are performing risky biological procedures. Such providers have been known to recommend, prescribe, or deliver so called ‘stem cell’ preparations without sufficient data to support their true content and efficacy. You will have to log in or register to view the full content.
Intracavernosal injection of platelet-rich plasma (PRP) as a treatment for erectile dysfunction (ED) is an emerging practice that warrants awareness among primary care physicians and urologists alike. Epidemiologic studies have shown that ED is a highly prevalent condition, affecting more than 300 million men globally, and the use of regenerative medicine, such stem cells, to reverse ED is highly desired.1 In the current era of consumerism, increasing numbers of patients are demanding novel and innovative treatment options. There is a trend toward the global emergence of clinics offering PRP as a treatment for ED for many desperate and vulnerable men; however, despite the introduction and commercialization of this therapy, there remains little evidence to support its use and guide patient or clinician in the decision making process.
“Stem cell tourism” is defined as the unethical practice of offering unproven cellular preparations to patients suffering from various medical conditions. This phenomenon is rising in the field of neurology as patients are requesting information and opportunities for treatment with stem cells for incurable conditions such as multiple sclerosis and amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, despite their clinical research and experimental designation. Here, we review the recent trends in “stem cell tourism” in both the United States and abroad, and discuss the recent reports of neurological complications from these activities. Finally, we frame critical questions for the field of neurology regarding training in the ethical, legal, and societal issues of the global “stem cell tourism,” as well as suggest strategies to alleviate this problem.