Stem cells popularity triggers fraud in Russian medicine

Stem cells used for illegal medical treatment in Moscow clinics
A new kind of fraud is spreading fast in Russia. While researchers all over the world continue their study of the stem cells, patients in some Moscow clinics are already “treated” with cells extracted from the human embryos. Doctors in a number of Moscow clinics and beauty parlors are promising miracles to patients who seek treatment for various conditions ranging from a facial skin wrinkling to Parkinson’s disease to erectile dysfunction. The patients are told that their problems can be resolved by injection of “stem cells”.

Experts warn that this kind of “treatment” may result in huge medical bills and also cause permanent damage to the patient’s health. Besides, the injections are deemed illegal, though the authorities seem to be doing nothing to stop the dishonest doctors, according to broadcasts by ABC News which cites AP. It is practically impossible to prove the presence of stem cells in the injections administered to the patients.

The stem cell is an immortal cell that is able to produce all the cells within an organ. Human embryos are extremely rich in the stem cells which are regarded more efficient than those extracted from the bone marrow of an adult person.  

A course of “treatment” using stem cells costs tens of thousands of U.S. dollars.
“The authorities have never licensed any medical specialist to administer injections of stem cells,” says Corresponding Member of the Russian Academy of Sciences Vladimir Smirnov, director of the Institute of experimental cardiology under the cardiology complex of the Russian Health Ministry. “Those methods are totally experimental and illegal,” says he.

It is highly unlikely that real stem cells are used during the fraudulent medical procedures. Professional expensive equipment is normally required for extracting and growing genuine stem cells. A cosmetic clinic just can not afford such a type of equipment. The “doctors” might use a human embryo’s tissue extracts, skin cells or even animal stem cells for injecting their patients. 

The Russian law permits only the extraction and storage of a human embryo’s stem cells.
20 Russian cosmetic clinics are reported to be under investigation due to their alleged use of the “stem cells.” Meanwhile, Russian cosmetologists say they are not using any methods that run against the law. “We are simply using the loopholes in the law. Anything that is not banned is legal,” says Alexander Teplyashin, head of the Institute for stem cell studies. Mr. Teplyashin is also a director of Beauty-Plaza, a cosmetic clinic.

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Author`s name Olga Savka