Stem cells have been known since 1961, but recently they have become known as a sort of "cure-all" for patients who want to believe that modern science always has an answer to our problems. This video by Dr. Timothy Caulfield explains what "Stem Cell Tourism" is and why it can be dangerous. These science animations are an easy way to learn the basics about important topics that can be quite dangerous to unsuspecting people.
In the past 50 years, stem cell research has led to some groundbreaking therapies including bone marrow transplantation and skin grafting. Today, stem cell research continues to hold the promise of new treatments for many diseases.
However most of these potential treatments are still experimental.
Any experimental therapy must first be carefully tested to make sure it is both safe and effective before it is approved for patients.
This testing process normally takes several years during which time many experimental treatments may fail because they are unsafe, ineffective or both.
Despite this, clinics throughout the world offer untested and potentially dangerous stem-cell-based treatments, usually at a high cost to the patient. As a result, these locations have become a destination for stem cell tourism - where hopeful patients travel internationally to seek unapproved stem cell therapies.
Before patients spend time and money, they should familiarize themselves with the facts and think twice about obtaining expensive treatments that have not yet been proven safe or effective.
Narration by: Professor Timothy Caulfield
Written & Directed by: Ben Paylor & Mike Long
Produced by: Infoshots - infoshots.ca
Animation by: David Murawsky - davidmurawsky.com/
Sound by: James Wallace - imdb.com/name/nm0908691/
Funding by: Stem Cell Network and Canadian Stem Cell Foundation