Sunday, 14 April 2013

Australian stem cell tourists are satisfied by their outcome

In a new ongoing project that started in 2012, researchers from Australia aim to "understand the socio-cultural dynamics of stem cell tourism". In simple words, they want to investigate what drives Australian patients to travel abroad to receive unapproved stem cell treatments (not offered in Australia), what their expectations are and of course whether or not they were satisfied with what they got.

The project, led by Proffessor Alan Petersen from the Monash University, has five phases:
  • Interviews with Australians patients that have gone abroad to receive stem cell treatment
  • Analysis of the public portrayals of stem cell treatments offered abroad
  • Interviews with Australian researchers, clinicians, researchers from the stem cell field
  • Fieldwork at one or more overseas stem cell clinics offering treatments
  • Translating the findings into practical strategies, like a policy research workshop in the final year

Sun Herald reports that the project is still in its first phase. At present, 16 Australian patients have been interviewed. When asked about the costs, some said that they had paid up to $40,000 for stem cell injections alone, while others said that they had to pay tens of thousands of dollars just for the flight tickers, hotels and other living costs.  Still, most of them were happy with their end results saying they saw a significant improment in their "wellbeing, be it a lift in energy or mood, and in some cases improved mobility" while a minority felt "duped" from their whole experience.

The next goal is to interview 50 more patients who have received treatment and 20 patients who were sceptical and changed their mind. Then, sometime in 2014 the researchers will travel to India and China to investigate the disconnection between official restrictions and regulations on treatment, and the reality on the ground.

More information about the project is available here and here


  1. another prooof FDA sabotages adult stem cells, they only care about $$$$$

  2. I found very interesting stuff on your blog. Thanks for sharing.


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