Late in 2012 I did a piece on the global trends in stem cell clinical trial patterns. It is time for an update.
Another look at stem cell clinical trials now (late Sept. 2013) based on the clinicaltrials.gov database shows an encouraging trend.
The total number of stem cell clinical trials registered in the database has risen in the last 10 months or so from 4,316 to 4,775, a 10.6% increase. The U.S. continues to dominate total stem cell clinical trial numbers (see map above). It is unclear whether some of this could be an inherent bias of the clinicaltrials.gov registry to be underutilized by non-American clinical trial coordinators. The European Union (EU) is a strong second followed by China, Canada, the Middle East region, and Australia.
The number of mesenchymal stem cell (MSC) clinical trials rose from 281 to 354, a whopping 26% increase (see map immediately above). This suggests that the rate of growth of MSC trials is substantially faster than that of stem cells overall. Here the geographic trends are quite different with China leading the way, then the EU, and the U.S. in third followed by the Middle East region. Some of this difference in geography as compared to total stem cell clinical trial numbers could reflect variable regulatory approaches in countries and regions. The geographic proportions today are roughly the same as they were last year.
What we do not know that would be extremely important for context is how many non-clinical trial-based stem cell treatments are being given across the globe as well as in specific countries and regions. I believe, however, it is reasonable to predict that there are vastly more patients being given stem cell interventions outside of clinical trials than within the context of clinical trials.