Patients interested in studies need to be fully informed

The World Stem Cell Hub has announced a call for patients with spinal cord injuries or Parkinsons to potentially participate in a clinical study. PLEASE, if you are interested in this, remember that those who are chosen will have to travel to South Korea (perhaps even for initial interviews), donate a skin sample (this may be the simplest part), wait for development of a stem cell line from that skin cell sample, and then wait until a treatment study is approved. To be acceptable to the scientific community, the study will have to be controlled in some way (with a "placebo"-like treatment not expected to have benefit). The clinical study itself is some time off and will probably involve long-term followup after treatment. I am encouraged by talking with Insoo Hyun (see intreview on this site) that the process of interviewing candidates will be rigorous, so that those who choose to participate will understand--as much as possible--what's involved and what outcomes are possible--including dangers to themselves. Women who volunteer to donate eggs for the somatic cell nuclear transplant process will also be carefully screened and informed of what their participation means. Cures for spinal cord injuries and for Parkinsons are most likely a long way off. We need to be hopeful, but cautious and fully informed. Marie Godfrey, PhD
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