Professor Megan Munsie features on the BBC’s Stem Cell Hard Sell

Professor Megan Munsie joined international experts voicing their concerns about the marketing of unproven stem cell therapies to vulnerable patients on BBC Radio 4's Stem Cell Hard Sell investigation.

Stem cells can become many types of cells in the body, from muscle to brain, and can repair damaged tissue.

But they are approved only for treating some blood conditions, for skin grafts and the repair of damaged corneas.

However, the BBC Radio 4's Stem Cell Hard Sell investigation, presented by Lesley Curwen, has found an astonishing number of private clinics across the world that are offering unproven and unregulated treatments using the "healing powers" of stem cells, often at staggeringly high prices.

Professor Megan Munsie, from the University of Melbourne’s Centre for Stem Cell Systems and Chair of the International Society for Stem Cell Research's ethics committee has long been concerned about the increase in direct-to-consumer stem cell and regenerative therapies.

She joined international experts, including University of California’s Professor Paul Knoepfler, UT Southwestern Medical Center’s Professor Sean Morrison and University College Hospitals London’s Professor Fares Haddad, voicing their concerns about the marketing of unproven stem cell therapies to vulnerable patients.

Megan said it was unclear whether these unproven treatments, which "quite frankly are flooding the marketplace”, had "any benefit whatsoever'".

Megan is hopeful for future stem cell-based therapies and excited about the potential of stem cells but warns that more research and evidence is required.

“We need to learn how to harness the potential [of stem cells] to deliver safe and effective treatments. Not just promise to do so”.

The Stem Cell Hard Cell is a radio documentary on BBC Four Radio.

Read more about Megan’s involvement in changing Australia’s regulation of unproven stem cell treatments and her research exploring why patients turn to these unproven and risky stem cell therapies.

Article by Helen  Braybrook

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Professor Megan Munsie