Stem Cells Australia and The Royal Australian and New Zealand College of Ophthalmologists (RANZCO) have joined forces to produce a patient leaflet for people considering stem cell treatments for eye conditions.
Stem Cells for Eyesight summarises the organisation’s joint position statement on the role of stem cells in treating eye disease and provides important information about newly emerging stem cell treatments for eye sight.
The leaflet warns about accessing stem cell treatments that have not been shown to work in clinical trials, and cautions against unsubstantiated marketing claims and patient testimonials used to endorse commercial services. For a new stem cell treatment, patients are advised to ensure it is part of an ethically approved clinical trial.
For a new stem cell treatment, patients are advised to ensure it is part of an ethically approved clinical trial
Disastrous results of a stem cell treatment for macular degeneration using cells obtained from liposuction have been reported in the New England Journal of Medicine. The patients who lost sight incorrectly thought they were participating in government approved research, having seen a study by the clinic advertised on the government clinical trials website.
In Australia, there have been recent increases in demand for, and availability of, stem cell treatments. Although clinical trials are underway, and some are delivering promising results, not all treatments are supported by evidence in terms of safety and quality. Further clinical testing over a longer period of time, and across a larger patient sample, is needed to better establish safety and effectiveness.