February 28, 2024


Although stem cell cures for spinal cord injury and motor neurone disease still are still a distant dream in the US and Europe, a doctor in China is touting the benefits of stem cells injections on a website, China Stem Cell News, and advertising its wares widely on Google.

Dr Huang Hongyun, director of the Beijing clinic, does not claim to be a miracle worker, but he says that some of the patients experience substantial improvement. “I was bowled over,” reads one quote, from Dr Paul Cooper, of New York University School of Medicine. “They didn’t have patients who were totally paralysed and then get up and walk. But there were people who couldn’t hold objects, and then they could after the operation.” Quotes like these are backed up with case studies, complete with testimonials from American patients and videos.

What the web site does not disclose is the misgivings of scientists and neurosurgeons in the West. They say that Dr Huang has not provided substantial clinical evidence or empirical data to back up his claims. The potential risks to his patients are very real.