Stemcell doctor facing possible disciplinary action

Suspicions of fraud for offering Stamina, a 'dangerous drug'

(ANSA) - Rome, June 12 - A Brescia-area physician helming a controversial stem-cell treatment faces possible disciplinary action for suspicions of fraud, the supreme Cassation Court said Thursday. Prosecutors in Turin are investigating Mario Andolina, vice-president of the Stamina Foundation, for fraud and issuing a dangerous drug, following a complaint by Lombardy region Health chief Mario Mantovani. The action taken Thursday by Cassation prosecutor Gianfranco Ciani should verify whether or not disciplinary action is warranted. Andolina and the Stamina Foundation have long been front and center in Italian news for their alternative medical therapy for neurodegenerative diseases. Stamina's credibility is considered suspect, and last fall 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 as many as one quarter of all patients treated have experienced "adverse effects". Foundation head Davide Vannoni, may also face indictment. But support from some patients who have used or requested the treatment remains strong. As recently as last week, a court in the central Marche region gave the green light to Andolina to administer Stamina treatment to a toddler with Krabbe disease.

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Stemcell doctor facing possible disciplinary action

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