Probe finished in controversial stemcell therapy

Next step by prosecutors could be indictments

(ANSA) - Turin, April 23 - Prosecutors said Wednesday they have completed their investigation into a controversial stem-cell treatment involving 20 individuals, including Davide Vannoni, founder of the Stamina Foundation. The notice means prosecutors could now proceed to indictments in the case that may involve charges of fraud. Earlier this month, hospitals in Italy that used the discredited stem-cell treatment announced they have suspended the program. That followed announcements last fall by Italy's health that the Stamina Foundation - the nonprofit foundation that developed the treatment - would not be allowed to test it on humans. The foundation was also stripped of its non-profit status after a study found its treatment was "ignorant of stem-cell biology". Vannoni, a former psychology lecturer, was indicted earlier this year for alleged attempted fraud against the Piedmont Region. The Stamina Foundation had asked for 500,000 euros of funding to develop a stem-cell laboratory, a request prosecutors had earlier argued was fraudulent because the efficacy of the treatment has been "completely disproved". The Stamina treatment involves extracting bone-marrow stem cells from a patient, turning them into neurons by exposing them to retinoic acid for two hours, and injecting them back into the patient. Supporters of the therapy thought it could be a cure for fatal degenerative nerve diseases such as spinal muscular atrophy, while detractors said it was devoid of scientific merit. A panel of experts appointed by Italy's health ministry said in January it found the therapy seriously lacking in both premise and practice. Their report cited "serious imperfections and omissions in the Stamina protocol, including conceptual errors and an apparent ignorance of stem-cell biology".

Go here to see the original:
Probe finished in controversial stemcell therapy

Related Post