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The SkepDoc

Beware Stem Cell Clinics that Offer Untested Treatments

STEM CELL TREATMENTS ARE ALL THE RAGE. Since they’re mostly illegal in the U.S., patients have been going to other countries for treatment (stem cell tourism). The claims are grandiose, but the evidence to support those claims is thin gruel.

What are Stem Cells?

Embryonic stem cells are the cells in the early embryo that develop into all the different types of cells needed to make a baby. The idea behind stem cell therapy is “Hey, let’s harness that. If stem cells can grow a whole baby, we ought to be able to use them to fix anything that goes wrong. They could replace cells or entire organs anywhere in the body that have been harmed by disease or injury.” It is a seemingly simple idea, but it is not so easy to implement. For stem cells to be useful, we would have to figure out how to get them to where they are needed, control their differentiation to produce the type of cells we want, and make sure they don’t go elsewhere and create problems or develop into malignant tumors.

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About Skeptic

SCIENCE AND MORAL VALUES Jordan Peterson Phenomenon; Thought Crimes: Jordan Peterson and the meaning of the Meaning of Life; Special Section on Science & Morality. Getting Real About Right and Wrong; No, Being Religious Will Not Save You from Suicide; Lessons from Behavioral Science in a Warzone: How Reason, Skepticism, and Compassion Can Win Hearts and Minds; Moral Philosophy and its Discontents: Can science determine moral values? An Exchange with Massimo Pigliucci, Michael Shermer, and Kevin McCaffree; Facilitated Communication Redux: Persistence of a Discredited Technique; The Mystery of Elite Religious Scientists: A Cognitively Impenetrable Illusion; Five Questions About Human Errors for Proponents of Intelligent Design; The SkepDoc: Beware Stem Cell Clinics that Offer Untested Treatments; Junior Skeptic: Astral Projection