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Stem cell “therapy” for autism in the Philippines?

Posted Jul 22 2012 11:24pm

One would think so from the title of the story in a Philippine website: “ Stem Cell Therapy: Cure For Autism? ” I worried, has another overseas location started in the stem cell “therapy ” businesses?

Apparently not. The story is about a Philippine family, but the Clinic is in Germany and the stem cells are fetal lamb cells.

Let’s start with a statement from the end of the story :

Unless you’re a mother, and you’ve searched high and low for treatments for your child, there’s nothing to lose, really. Yes, it’s quite costly but what parent would not do that for their child

There’s nothing to lose. It’s so sad to see it in black and white like that. Of course one must be cautious not to assume this means she feels her children is “nothing to lose”, but instead is saying that she feels that there is no chance of something going wrong. Either way, such statements should not be put in print.

Is it really “stem cell” therapy? They are calling it “fresh cell” therapy.

Ethan underwent what is called Fresh Cell Therapy, a biological treatment by which specially selected fresh or live cells or cell extracts of donor animals, usually sheep, are injected into the human body for treatment of various ailments or rejuvenation purpose.

The procedure uses fresh cells from the fetus of a lamb and takes not more than three hours from harvesting to production to injection of the cells to the patient. All procedures are done in their clinic in Germany.

They seem to be rebranding their “fresh cell” idea to capitalize on the publicity around stem cell research.

The story could form the basis for a thousand words essay by one of the skeptic bloggers.

Unlike autologous stem cell transplant, in which blood-forming stem cells are removed, stored, and later given back to the same person, fresh cell therapy is non-invasive and is only injected to the body.

It’s “non invasive”, it just involves injecting fetal lamb cells into the body.

The story continues with standard alternative medicine themes: they can’t wait for proof, a large percentage (but never too high) report benefit, benefits can be seen quickly but long term therapy is needed (5-10 years of expensive therapy).

This story is filled with red flags that make such stories frightening. And all the hooks of false hope that are sure to pull in some more families.

By Matt Carey

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