Stem cell research is still in its infancy. It is giving hope to people with ALS, Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease, but a cure is not quite there yet. Illnesses that are being cured with stem cells right now are only found in labs, on mice and rats. That is not say stem cell treatment isn’t being used yet, but it isn’t approved yet for the curing of complex, chronic medical conditions.
In our country, whenever a new drug or treatment is developed, it has to go through stringent selection and approval processes with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, and for good reason. It has to be found to be not just effective, but to be safe as well. And while stem cell treatment is showing impressive results, it is just not quite there yet.
A Glimmer of Hope
The problem is that people who have life-limiting conditions are desperate for treatment. They will take any opportunity to cure their condition, and who can blame them? Unfortunately, this is also a ticket to get rich for many other people, particularly those in unregulated countries. It would not be possible to start a clinic in this country that claims to use stem cells to cure Parkinson’s disease, for instance, but there is nothing stopping someone in a different country from doing this.
In the past, we had charlatans, quacks, potion sellers and more. Today, we have the internet. And the quacks of today are as good as what they do as they were way back then, when they were peddling potions at local fairs. Today, they have professional looking websites, entire clinics, payment gateways, seemingly honest reviews and testimonials and more. It is all too easy to fall for this, particularly if what you are looking for is that glimmer of hope.
We live in a world where we know certain technology is available and we want to be able to access it if it could save our lives. But we forget that the fact that we can’t yet access it, is for our own safety. Maybe the formulation that exists today is completely safe, but maybe it’s not and that is a risk that our country does not want to take with its citizens. This is frustrating for people, who would often be more than happy to be ‘collateral damage’ and gamble with their own lives, but that is a chance that scientists don’t want to, and are not allowed to take.
It is very tempting to book yourself in with a clinic somewhere in Thailand and be the next health tourism success story. But it is far more likely that you will be the next failure story, only your story won’t be told as that is not good for business. Your health may be deteriorating, but choosing something that is untested, unsafe and more than likely ineffective, you aren’t grasping to hope, you are giving in to despair.