The Chinese Ministry of Health has a new battle to fight: closing down stem-cell clinics.
A recent article by Nature sheds some light on the booming and seemingly very lucrative business of stem-cell treatments for a range of diseases including autism or Parkinson. The problem? There is to date no scientific evidence that stem-cell therapies actually work.
A law passed in 2009 even requires those offering stem-cell procedures to present clinical data supporting their efficacy and to secure approval from the Health Ministry. Unfortunately weak capacity of implementation and enforcement coupled with grey legal areas has created niches for experimentation.
Stem-cell therapies may well prove one day to be very promising avenues. Clinical trials run over many years will however be the only way to demonstrate the efficacy of Chinese stem-cell therapies.