International Society Publishes Open Letter to Stem Cell Clinics

PORTLAND, OREGON, August 2, 2010 – The International Cellular Medicine Society (ICMS), a nonprofit organization dedicated to patient safety and physician education on the medical use of adult stem cells, announces the publication of an Open Letter directed to stem cell clinics worldwide.  The letter, currently published on the ICMS website, warns clinics about impending threats to the future of cell based medicine and encourages them to join the ICMS, participate in its Treatment Registry, and come into compliance with its physician developed international guidelines.

The future of cell based medicine requires cooperation, transparency and peer oversight. “There are good clinics in the world,” says David Audley, Executive Director of the ICMS. “We are telling these clinics that it is time to stand up and not allow pharmaceutical funded and industry organizations to discredit adult stem cell therapies.”

The need to draw an obvious distinction between ethical and rogue clinics has never been greater. This appeal to clinics to come into compliance with international standards and be transparent with patient data comes as more and more patients are seeking out treatment for debilitating and terminal conditions. Without universal standards for the collection, processing and transplantation of stem cells, there is no way for patients and their physicians to effectively evaluate any clinic. Through compliance with the ICMS Guidelines and participation in the ICMS Treatment Registry, clinics can make a very visible statement about their commitment to patient safety.

“Good clinics,” continued Audley, “Will embrace this transparency, and use it to distinguish their practices. Bad ones won’t, and the medical community will expose them as rogue clinics with dangerous practices.”


International Stem Cell Organization Adds Notable Bioethicist to Board

PORTLAND, OREGON. June 29, 2010 - The International Cellular Medicine Society (ICMS), a nonprofit organization dedicated to patient safety and education on the medical use of adult stem cells, today proudly announces the addition of esteemed bioethicist Glenn McGee, PhD to its Board of Directors.

Dr. McGee joins Francesca Vitelli, PhD, and Ricardo Rodriguez, MD, as the newest members of the ICMS Board of Directors. Dr. McGee, the John B. Francis Chair in Bioethics at the Center for Practical Bioethics, is the founding editor-in-chief of The American Journal of Bioethics (AJOB) and a member of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) Panel on Molecular and Genetic Devices. His research spans across ethical, legal, social, and economic issues in biomedical science and includes hundreds of essays and papers found in numerous peer-reviewed journals, law reviews, and other scholarly books and publications.

“The work of the ICMS is literally life-saving, representing the collective efforts of dozens, if not hundreds, of minds who are dedicated to ethical medicine and research that upholds the mission to find cures and improve lives,” said Dr. McGee.  “I can think of no better place to get involved and be an integral part of the future of medicine.” 

With the addition of Dr. McGee’s experience and knowledge, the ICMS will continue to advance its efforts in building a global association to protect patient safety through its Treatment Registries that track outcomes and complications from stem cells procedures.  

“The importance in having an internationally recognized bioethicist like Dr. McGee as part of our leadership cannot be overstated,” said David Audley, CEO and Executive Director of the ICMS. “He brings a monumental amount of experience, passion, and expertise to the ICMS. His voice and expertise will ensure that the needs of the patient are always addressed. He is a perfect fit for a patient safety organization like the ICMS.”

Dr. McGee joins an expert board of noted physicians and researchers in providing strategic leadership to the ICMS.


International Stem Cell Association Responds to Clinic Closure in Costa Rica

PORTLAND, OREGON, June 4, 2010 – The International Cellular Medicine Society (“ICMS”), a professional medical nonprofit organization dedicated to patient safety through the advancement of safe and effective adult stem cell therapy, applauds the efforts of governmental agencies and nonprofit organization to bring greater transparency to the practices of international stem cell clinics. The ICMS asserts that only through the independent collection and validation of patient outcome data can the promise of adult, autologous stem cell therapies be realized.

“Through its closure of the Institute of Cellular Medicine,” says David Audley, Executive Director of the ICMS, “the Costa Rican Ministry of Health has exposed one of the greatest potential risks of medical tourism: treatments being offered to desperate patients without data to support their claims of efficacy or safety.” The risk to patients is not just that the therapies may not work, but that some ‘offshore clinics’ provide little or no complications tracking. The ICMS has sought to address this potential patient safety risk with the implementation of its Open Treatment Registry. This registry of patient reported data is collected and managed by the ICMS and provides prospective tracking and follow up of patients for 20 years.

The ICMS approached the Institute of Cellular Medicine in San Jose, Costa Rica about participation in the Registry. While the ICMS was able to get sufficient data to include the clinic in the Society’s annual Offshore Stem Cell Clinic Report, the clinic did not respond to the ICMS inquiries about participation in the Open Treatment Registry.

Participation in the Open Treatment Registry is reserved for those clinics who have applied to the ICMS and whose basic cell processing and delivery methods have been evaluated for patient safety by a volunteer board of academic and clinical researchers. “We believe that participation in the Registry is an indication that a clinic has nothing to hide. While the ICMS does not sanction these clinics or certify their treatments, these are the clinics that are taking appropriate and reasonable safe guards for patient safety.”

The decisive action of the Costa Rican Health Ministry provides an additional example of the need for greater peer review and oversight within the cell based medical therapy community. Through its own best practice guidelines, the ICMS hopes to provide health ministries and their officers with a structure to evaluate the clinical and laboratory practices of stem cells clinics. These guidelines, developed by panels of international health care practitioners and research scientists, provide the most comprehensive and up to date standards on the collection, processing and re-implantation of adult, autologous stem cells.


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