Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Desperate patients looking for funds often hype unproven stem cell treatments

From the Star Tribune:

People with chronic and terminal illnesses are increasingly turning to crowdsourcing to raise money for experimental stem cell treatments, but a University of Minnesota researcher has found they often use unproven or overly optimistic claims in their pleas.

Associate bioethics professor Leigh Turner also found a direct pipeline from the medical companies — and the language they use to promote stem cell treatments that have not yet been proven through research — to the patients and their appeals.

Examining 408 campaigns on the GoFundMe and YouCaring websites, Turner and colleagues found that more than half made definitive statements about the effectiveness of unproven stem cell therapies provided by 50 companies.

Turner’s findings, published Tuesday in the Journal of the American Medical Association, found another 30 percent that made claims deemed at least optimistic about the therapies.

Only 36 of the campaigns mentioned the risks of proposed therapies, but they mostly stated that the risks were lower than those of standard treatments of their conditions.

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