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Biotech China Government Medicine Science

Chinese Firms Ignore Licensing Mandate For Stem Cell Therapy 27

Posted by timothy
from the dear-leaders dept.
scibri writes "Three months ago, China started to crack down on unlicensed stem cell treatments in the country. But it doesn't seem to have had much effect. Not one clinic has registered as required, and they continue to operate openly, offering unproven treatments for diseases such as Parkinson's and Alzheimer's."
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Chinese Firms Ignore Licensing Mandate For Stem Cell Therapy

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  • What the Chinese clinics are doing is fine. If no other country is willing to conduct research and push this technology, then let them fall behind. If they want to let China have an advantage in this area of immense potential... then so be it. I see nothing wrong with what they are doing.

    • by Samantha Wright (1324923) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @05:03PM (#39666145) Homepage Journal
      It's snake oil. None of the treatments work, or could possibly work. Employing them is about as unscientific as homeopathy; merely more cleverly disguised through the use of a subject that is not well-understood. In most cases, the injected stem cells probably die after a few days.
      • by barv (1382797)

        You commented on "Chinese Firms Ignore Licensing Mandate For Stem Cell Therapy" that stem cell therapy was "smoke and mirrors" (well words to that effect). Could you explain why it seems to work on horses? Or is the whole article fake?

        http://www.technologyreview.com/biomedicine/22998/ [technologyreview.com]

        • I said the treatments in question were nonsense, not that stem cell therapy is bad. This is like prescribing a cancer drug for a broken femur: powerful, but irrelevant.
        • The major differences are that the horse studies were conducted using scientific process, produced results, and the whole process was peer-reviewed. These "clinics" on the other hand are the complete opposite. The only similarity is that both used stem cells.
    • by interkin3tic (1469267) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @05:05PM (#39666179)
      You're misinformed. This is not embryonic stem cell RESEARCH, this is "therapy." As in "Hey, you've heard of stem cells? Well they're MAGIC! For $7000 us dollars, we'll inject you with ES cells and you'll get much better!"

      As in 100% bullshit snake oil. You inject an embryonic stem cell into your blood, and your immune system is going to destroy those cells quickly, since they're not yours. And that's a best case scenario. Worst case scenario, you're immune system is compromised, and they start growing into tumors.

      We are not to a point where ES are useful for therapies these "clinics" are hawking. No one credible disputes this. The people who would will also sell you some ground up rhino horn and various homeopathic medicines.

      ES cells are useful for research. Stem cell research has not stagnated. We haven't outlawed it. There are burdensome restrictions on some types of ES research, but research is progressing. Induced pluripotent stem cells were just discovered (invented?) a few years ago as a direct result of ES research. That is, they take some of your skin cells, treat them, and they become ES like, but they're your cells so your immune system won't attack them. THAT will probably be useful for therapies if we can get the efficiencies high enough.

      Anyway, while we're not spending enough on research and while some of the restrictions put on ES research are political rather than scientific, research on stem cells is progressing here. And these chinese firms are not legit, they're charlatans who should be locked up.
      • by Kreigaffe (765218)

        and while those restrictions are a bit.. onerous.. it's those restrictions that allowed federal funding for embryonic stem cell research in the first place. it's not like there was money that was suddenly restricted -- there wasn't money, and then there was, with restrictions.

    • by Omniskio (1153619)
      Perhaps "The Law" in China means one thing for businesspeople (which these people are... they're certainly not scientists advancing research in any meaningful way), but another thing for dissidents like Liu Xiaobo?
  • This is the way the world ends
    Not with a bang but a whimper

  • I dunno. Seems like if China really wanted to "crack down" on something like rogue stem cell injections into dupes, it could do so. Think cultural revolution, Tiananmen square, one child-policy, internets censorship.
    • by Anonymous Coward

      It is like corruption in China. Everyone knows it exists. There are a few high profile executions, but corruption still happens on every level anyway.

      I would say it will be lip-service until someone dies. If there is enough outrage, then a witchhunt is launched.

    • by FhnuZoag (875558)

      No, this is the paradox of China. On the one hand, it's a police state with very reduced sets of rights. On the other hand, China is actually an anarchy. Think about it - it's a state massive in area, but with *half the number of police* (per capita) than the US. And the police there are is mostly concentrated unevenly across the country. Thus, you have a police system capable of producing individual 'examples', if the state wishes, but which is in general wholly incapable of enforcing consistently the full

  • by Anonymous Coward

    It seems kind of curious that it would become a major international issue that there are people doing stem cell treatments out there. You can go to Mexico or whatever and get whatever wacky treatment you want but Stem Cells are treated like an international outrage, like nuclear weapons proliferation.

    Knowing the slashdot hivemind, you'll think this is complete bullshit, but here's an interesting reddit AMA about a paralyzed guy who went to China and got stem cell treatment and had good results:

    http://www.r

  • by nimbius (983462) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @06:09PM (#39667063) Homepage
    where government mandated licenses are routinely applied for, granted, and promptly ignored.
    see your local highway at 5:00, or the local megacorp's environmental policy in action.
  • by Aggrajag (716041) on Thursday April 12, 2012 @08:50PM (#39668469)

    These are the clinics where you will be getting your unlicensed cybernetic enhancements in the future.

    Yet again a Gibson prediction to become reality.

  • Once again, it's -not- so big a deal that the Gov't requires rego of such clinics...

    But wait until Patients demand it, & see how fast it happens... :-)

    No patients, no $$$.

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