• By Susan Buckles

Science Saturday: What’s behind patient requests for stem cells?

June 4, 2022
medical illustration of human stem cells

In one of the first studies of its kind, Mayo Clinic analyzed a large group of patients to understand their motivations for seeking stem cell therapies and whether expectations are grounded in science. The findings could help health care professionals cut through misleading claims and better counsel patients. This research by Jennifer ArthursZubin Master, Ph.D.; and Shane Shapiro, M.D. — all of Mayo Clinic — is published in NPJ Regenerative Medicine.

"We learned that many patients interested in stem cells had beliefs that are not supported by current medical evidence. For example, many thought stem cells were better than surgery or standard of care," says Dr. Master, a bioethicist in Mayo Clinic's Center for Regenerative Medicine and co-senior author.

Stem cell therapies are not approved for routine clinical care. Therefore, they are not covered by insurance. Mayo Clinic is one of the first to offer a Regenerative Medicine Consult Service to inform patients and responsibly advance regenerative therapies. The consult service educates patients about the facts of stem cell and orthobiologic therapies.

"Findings of this study reinforce the value of Mayo Clinic's Regenerative Medicine Consult Service. Patients remain interested in stem cell therapy, but many may be misinformed about the efficacy of these treatments," says Arthurs, a nurse practitioner and patient coordinator in the Regenerative Medicine Therapeutics Suites at Mayo Clinic in Florida. "Mayo Clinic can serve as a trusted source of health information about regenerative care."

Read the rest of the article on the Mayo Clinic Center for Regenerative Medicine blog.

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