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Evidence for stem cells still 'limited'

Article-Evidence for stem cells still 'limited'

Boston — Scientific evidence for the safety or efficacy of stem cell therapies in aesthetic medicine is very limited, and marketing is pushing too far ahead, according to a joint statement issued this week by two leading plastic surgery associations.

A joint task force of the American Society for Aesthetic Plastic Surgery (ASAPS) and the American Society of Plastic Surgeons (ASPS) released the position statement during the ASAPS Aesthetic Meeting 2011.

The task force said the conclusion was based on a systematic review of the peer-reviewed literature.

Led by plastic surgeon and stem cell expert J. Peter Rubin, M.D., of the University of Pittsburgh, the task force was convened to address concerns in the plastic surgery community about advertising claims and clinical practices that have not been substantiated by scientific evidence.

“There are encouraging data from laboratory and clinical studies to suggest that the use of adult stem cells is a very promising field,” Dr. Rubin said in the statement, “but as our comprehensive review of the current scientific literature shows, the data available today do not substantiate the marketing claims being made to patients seeking aesthetic surgery and aesthetic medical treatments.”

 Recommendations and statements of the task force to ASAPS and ASPS members and patients include:

• Terms such as “stem cell therapy” and “stem cell procedure” should only be used to describe treatments or techniques where the collection, concentration, manipulation or therapeutic action of stem cells is the primary goal, rather than a passive result, of the treatment.
• The marketing and promotion of stem cell procedures in aesthetic surgery is not adequately supported by clinical evidence at this time.
• While stem cell therapies have the potential to be beneficial for a variety of medical applications, a substantial body of clinical data to assess plastic surgery applications still needs to be collected. Until further evidence is available, stem cell therapies in aesthetic and reconstructive surgery should be conducted within clinical studies under Institutional Review Board approval, including compliance with all guidelines for human medical studies.

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