Patients Seeking Stem Cell Research Overseas

Physician's Money Digest, July 2007, Volume 14, Issue 7

As controversy, objections, doubt, and debate still surround stem cell treatment in the United States, many US patients have opted to make the trip to China where stem cell treatment for spinal cord injuries, multiple sclerosis, cerebral palsy, and ataxia are being practiced in more than 100 Chinese hospitals. Along with the stem cell treatment, patients also have the option of receiving physical therapy, acupuncture, massage, drugs, and electrical stimulation. Currently, the average price tag for such a treatment is around $17,000, plus airfare. While physicians in China offer success stories to back their treatment, many physicians in the West feel that their claims can't be proved without having statistically valid sample sizes and control subjects. To meet the objections of Western doctors, Chinese physicians are hoping to start clinical trials for the treatment. And as patients receive little or no hope from their doctors at home, warnings seem easily ignored as they take the financial hit to pursue other promising options.