One of the problems in the stem cell field is that so few doctors have adequate training in stem cells (biology, transplantation, regulatory issues, GMP, ethics, patient rights, etc) and yet they are treating loads of patients in a for-profit setting.
This not puts patients at great risk, but also the physicians themselves are putting themselves at risk both in terms of punitive regulatory actions and patient litigation. More broadly the untrained practice of stem cell-based medicine puts the stem cell field at risk.
I have a new paper out in the journal Regenerative Medicine proposing that academic medical centers develop physician training programs in stem cell-based cellular and regenerative medicine. The paper is entitled:
Call for fellowship programs in stem cell-based regenerative and cellular medicine: new stem cell training is essential for physicians
I hope that medical schools and health systems across the country in the US will innovate to create these new training programs for physicians. What I envision is a 1-year program that covers the curriculum in the box above.
Such academic fellowship programs in stem cell-based cellular and regenerative medicine would go a long way to improving the safety and efficacy of this emerging new area of medical practice. They would likely reduce confrontations between physicians and the FDA as well as FDA regulatory actions.
Which University or Health System will be the true pioneer and have the first such program in the country? Whoever it is, they will have taken a very positive step for the field of stem cell-based medicine.