Patients warned of stem cell danger

Experts have warned patients to stay away from unproven and unsafe stem cell treatments which can have horrific consequences.

They cited one example where a woman who wanted to banish her wrinkles found her face turning to bone.

Around 10 clinics in Europe are thought to be offering stem cell therapies for a range of conditions, including serious brain diseases such as Alzheimer's and Parkinson's.

In China, patients have had huge infusions of stem cells pumped into their blood streams in the belief that this will prevent them ageing.

It is not known whether any such clinics operate in the UK, where the practice would be illegal.

The cells used in these treatments are mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) which are widespread around the body.

They can develop into fat, cartilage, muscle and bone but there is no proof they can generate other kinds of tissue, such as nerves.

However research has shown they stimulate blood vessel growth and can attract other strains of stem cell.

Stem cell scientists attending the British Science Festival at the University of Newcastle told how some patients were being lured into undergoing potentially dangerous treatments using MSCs.

Professor Bruno Peault, from the University of Edinburgh, said: "It's very easy to fool lay people. You can say absolutely anything but this is really dangerous.

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Patients warned of stem cell danger

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