Oral Presentation 6th Australian Health and Medical Research Congress 2012

Stem Cell Tourism to China (#40)

Jane Kotey 1
  1. School of Political and Social Inquiry, Monash University, Melbourne, VIC, Australia

'Stem cell tourism' is the phenomenon of people travelling from their home countries to overseas clinics that offer stem cell-based treatments, providers of which claim they can treat a myriad of conditions, including autism, spinal cord injury, and cerebral palsy, just to name a few. The current use of (hematopoietic) stem cell-based treatments for blood cancers has created a degree of familiarity in society with the use for stem cells for curative purposes. This makes it easy for providers of unproven stem cell-based treatments to extrapolate further curative uses of stem cells and make a convincing pitch to prospective patients desperate for any chance of improvement to their condition. The treatments are generally not supported by scientific evidence, can come with a huge price tag, and in some cases may cause further damage or even death. The most common outcome, however, is little to no effect at all. While there are clinics all around the world, my research focuses on China as a popular destination for those seeking hope for a cure. This presentation will give an overview of the current landscape of unproven stem cell treatment providers in China, and outline the current regulations regarding stem cell research in China.