Injuries

Three women suffered permanent eye damage after receiving stem cell treatment

The New York Times (3/15, Grady, Subscription Publication, 13.9M) reports. “Three women suffered severe, permanent eye damage after stem cells were injected into their eyes, in an unproven treatment at a loosely regulated clinic in Florida,” according to a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. The New York Times reports that all three women had “some visual impairment” before the procedure, but that after undergoing the treatment, one “went completely blind,” while the other two “lost much of their eyesight.” The article describes in detail the controversy surrounding stem cell clinics like the one where the women received the treatment and the ongoing dispute about whether the FDA has the authority to regulate them. The article also reports that FDA scientists published an accompanying article in the New England Journal of Medicine, which warned that stem cells “are being used in practice on the basis of minimal clinical evidence of safety or efficacy, sometimes with the claims that they constitute revolutionary treatments for various conditions.” The article also mentions that Andrea Fischer, a spokeswoman for the FDA, said the agency could not comment on whether the agency has investigated the matter. The article also mentions that the FDA website has a page warning people about “unscrupulous providers of stem-cell treatments that are illegal and potentially harmful.”



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