Genuine MS clinical trial approved for Manitobans

Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

By: Mary Agnes Welch

Posted: 3:00 AM | Comments: | Last Modified: 7:36 AM | Updates

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Dr. Mark Freedman of the Ottawa Hospital Research Institute. Two Canadian research centres are gearing up for a clinical trial to determine whether a type of stem cell can help alleviate the symptoms of multiple sclerosis.

In the aftermath of controversy over a costly overseas stem-cell treatment touted by a Winnipeg businessman, 20 Manitobans with multiple sclerosis can now take part in a genuine clinical trial, launched Thursday.

The $4.2-million study, the first of its kind in Canada, is being funded by the MS Society at Winnipeg's Health Sciences Centre.

It comes after revelations about a local medical researcher, Doug Broeska, whose company Regenetek charged about 70 MS and ALS patients as much as $45,000 for stem-cell treatment at a hospital in India. Earlier this month, controversy erupted over Broeska's credentials, the ethics approvals his research received, promises he made about the treatment's effects and the lack of followup care provided to patients. Broeska, who has been successfully sued several times in relation to past business ventures, claimed to have a PhD from the University of Manitoba, which is untrue. He later claimed to have a PhD from Brightland University, which has been linked to a degree-mill operator and charges $3,600 for a PhD certificate available in three to five weeks.

-- Yves Savoie, president and CEO of the MS Society

Though reluctant to comment directly on the Regenetek controversy, MS Society president and CEO Yves Savoie noted the new clinical trial does not ask patients to pay for treatment. He said the trial was chosen following an open competition and vetting by a rigorous ethical approval process.

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Genuine MS clinical trial approved for Manitobans

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