Attention! Stem cell treatments for Parkinson’s disease unproven

Parkinson’s NSW has recently become aware that some NSW PwP have expressed interest in seeking stem cell-based treatments for their PD, or for specific symptoms related to their PD, from overseas-based “clinics”. The lack of rigorous scientific trials on any offered stem cell treatments for PD anywhere around the world has been discussed previously in SBM and on the PNSW website.

Intense research activity is underway to investigate the potential of stem cells for novel treatments for PD but to date there have been no medical trials in humans to test if stem cells can effectively treat PD. Thus any clinics in any country offering such treatments are doing so in the absence of any scientific proof that the treatment might work. Even more worryingly, without proper medical trials it is not possible to be confident that a treatment will be safe. Parkinson’s NSW strongly advise their members, and all PwP, not to undergo any stem cell treatments for PD until these are shown to be safe and effective.

Assoc Prof Kay Double and Dr Simon Lewis