Foreign stem cell clinics must be regulated – but not at the cost of medical innovation, says a University of Manchester academic who is speaking at a public meeting this evening.
Dr Rebecca Bennett, a Senior Lecturer in Bioethics at the Institute of Science Ethics and Innovation, University of Manchester, is an expert on the ethics of medical innovations. She is particularly interested in IVF, genetic testing in pregnancy and stem cell therapies.
Speaking about so-called stem cell tourism – where people from the UK travel abroad for stem cell treatments that are not available here – Dr Bennett said: "There are clinics in other countries willing to provide treatment that hasn't been through the rigorous testing process that we expect in the UK. These are often very expensive and could be useless or even harmful.
“It's really important to regulate these clinics but not at the cost of making medical progress and not so that people who are desperately ill cannot choose for themselves to pay for whatever treatment they wish to receive."