Controversial Staminia treatment carried out on sick boy

Brescia hospital ordered to let discredited therapy resume

(ANSA) - Brescia, July 22 - A controversial stem-cell treatment was administered to a child suffering from muscular dystrophy at a hospital in northern Italy on Tuesday despite having been discredited. The Stamina treatment was administered on the orders of a Sicilian court after the hospital in Brescia decided to suspend the procedure on the boy suffering from Duchenne muscula dystrophy because it had been called into doubt. The child "will remain in observation for a few hours and we will carry out a few tests," said Giuseppe Morfino, the court-appointed doctor leading the external team that performed the treatment. Morfino added that the atmosphere at the hospital had been cooperative. The credibility of the Stamina treatment, which involves extracting bone-marrow stem cells from a patient, supposedly turning them into neurons by exposing them to retinoic acid for two hours, and injecting them back into the patient, has long been suspect, and last autumn the health ministry ruled that the Stamina Foundation would no longer be allowed to test the treatment on humans. The foundation was also stripped of its non-profit status after a study found its treatment was "ignorant of stem-cell biology". Recent investigations have shown risks of the treatment range from nausea to cancer, and reported that as many as one-quarter of all patients treated have experienced "adverse effects". In April, after study results became known, hospitals in Italy announced they had suspended the stem-cell treatment program. However, some local judges have ruled in favor of its application, despite the bans, amid heavy pressure from advocates and the families of patients.

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Controversial Staminia treatment carried out on sick boy

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