October 31, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

patient-funded trials

7 min read

Amongst all that is bouncing around within the stem cell clinic maelstrom out there, one thing stands out for me as the most troubling. I’m talking about for-profit experimentation on children, such as injection of kids with unproven stem cells for autism or cerebral palsy by unproven clinics. In my opinion it’s almost always going to be risky and unethical. Doing any clinical research on children requires extra care and planning even within an FDA-approved clinical trial context. Obviously pediatric clinical trials are crucial, …Read More

9 min read

Today’s post is the last of a three-part series on the Burt stem cell trials at Northwestern. This piece is focused on funding and the future of the trial, and also includes perspectives from patients. You can read Part 1 here and Part 2 here, which focused on issues related to potential encouragement of patient fundraising that unintentionally releases private information and on concerns over marketing of the ongoing trial as already known to be something like curative for MS. I’ve summarized my overall concerns in a flow chart below. …Read More

7 min read

Can science now cure MS in some patients with stem cells or is that near on the horizon? What about stem cells for other serious autoimmune disorders? What are the risks to patients in terms of health, money, and hope? What if patients must find $100,000 or $200,000 just to get into a clinical trial for this and insurance only sometimes helps in a big way? Will the trial conclude with an approved product that works and is safe enough? It’s always complicated with an ongoing …Read More

10 min read

Dr. Richard Burt of Northwestern University has been doing cutting edge research on the use of stem cells for autoimmune disorders for more than a decade. The core idea behind the work that Burt and other research teams are doing is that stem cells may have revolutionary potential to somehow counteract the autoimmunity that causes serious, life threatening diseases in many patients, including those suffering from particularly aggressive forms of Multiple Sclerosis (MS). Some have recently been characterizing Dr. Burt’s MS experiments as potential …Read More