AFL approves stem-cell therapy treatment

An Australian-based biomedical company has been given approval from the AFL to use stem-cell therapy on players recovering from injury.

Sydney-based Regeneus has revealed it was recently given permission for its HiQCell treatment on players suffering from such issues as osteoarthritis and tendinopathy.

The treatment is banned by the World Anti-Doping Agency if it is performance-enhancing but allowed if it is solely to treat injuries.

Regeneus commercial development director Steven Barberasaid the regenerative medicine company had sought approval from the AFL for what the company says is "innovative but not experimental" treatment.

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"In 2013, Regeneus sought and received clearance from ASADA [Australian Sports Anti-Doping Authority] for its proprietary HiQCell therapy for use with athletes who participate in sporting competitions subject to the WADA Anti-Doping Code. The AFL is one of many professional sports bodies which applies the WADA Anti-Doping Code within its regulations for players," he said.

"In March this year, the AFL introduced a Prohibited Treatments List as an additional level of scrutiny over and above the WADA code for player treatments. In light of this, Regeneus made a submission to the AFL to confirm that our specific treatment is not prohibited under that list. Subsequently, the chief medical officer of the AFL has recently communicated with our primary Melbourne-based HiQCell medical practitioner that the treatment is not prohibited and can be administered on a case-by-case basis to players.

"We anticipate documented confirmation of this outcome in the near future from the AFL.

"To our knowledge, the permission is specific to HiQCell and not necessarily to cell-based therapies in general."

The AFL confirmed it had given approval on a "case-by-case" basis.

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AFL approves stem-cell therapy treatment

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