Neurologists warn of stem cell therapies



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Neurologists are critical of expensive stem cell therapies

Seriously ill people with multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's or dementia can undergo expensive stem cell therapy in private clinics. Neurologists see little benefit in such offers and complain about security.

The German Society for Neurology (DGN) warns of these expensive and untested stem cell halpias in neurological diseases. "While stem cells have great potential in the development of new therapies, use in humans is still strongly discouraged," said Professor Alexander Storch at the DGN Congress. There are many expensive treatments in private clinics and practices that promise more than they deliver. "There is still no stem cell therapy for neurological diseases."

There are many studies that have tested stem cells. Clinical-scientific data that justify application are not available, said Storch. Significant evidence of effectiveness and safety is still lacking. At home and abroad, various stem cell therapies are still used in private clinics and practices, including against multiple sclerosis, Parkinson's or dementia.

Stem cells have enormous potential Patients have to pay between 6,000 and 30,000 euros for treatment with their own bone marrow cells. However, follow-up examinations show that this does not help them. "The hope lies in clinical research, not in expensive private treatments." Untested treatments outside of clinical studies also contradict internationally agreed standards, according to the Dresden neurologist. In general, the experts believe that stem cells have enormous potential. The use of cells for dementia, Parkinson's and paraplegia, gene therapies for childhood metabolic diseases or the development of patient-specific medications can contribute to recovery in the future. "But we just need time," said Storch. Research is just beginning and far from healing. "We would be happy if we could stop or slow down." (fr)

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