Australian stem cell experts have warned that therapies such as rabbit fetus therapy being offered by European practitioners are unproven, potentially dangerous and illegal, The Australian reported Friday.
Beginning Saturday, representatives of Fetal Cell Technologies International (FTCI) — with headquarters in Malaysia — will present free "education" seminars in Perth and Sydney about the so-called benefits of injections of cells from rabbit fetuses.
A spokesman for Australia's medical regulator, the Therapeutic Goods Administration (TGA), confirmed the treatments were not approved for registration or promotion within Australia, although it could not prevent FCTI from publicizing the services offered at its clinics in Malaysia and Switzerland.
These types of cell therapies are also illegal in the U.S.
The American Cancer Society warns of bacterial and viral infections, plus fatal allergic reactions, brain swelling and serious immune system reactions.
In a press release and on its Web site, FCTI claims its "rabbit fetal precursor stem cells" are effective treatments for conditions as diverse as autism, down syndrome, cerebral palsy and aging.
Stem cell scientist Richard Boyd strongly disagrees.
"I see no scientific mechanism by which this single group of cells could repair such a diverse range of diseases," he said. "We don't know the identity of these cells, how they've been treated or how they expect the cells to target the specific disease sites."