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Stem cell doctor misconduct hearing underway

15 February 2010
Appeared in BioNews 545

The UK's General Medical Council (GMC) is hearing evidence of a Dutch clinic that supplied stem cell therapies to British patients alleged to be not 'intended for human use'.

Dr Robert Trossel, originally from Saudi Arabia, operates the Preventief Medisch Centrum (PMC) clinic in Rotterdam, which opened in the 1980s. He registered with the GMC in 1992 and entered into a licensing agreement with Biomark, which later became Advanced Cell Therapeutics (ACT), to provide stem cell treatments, the Telegraph newspaper reports. ACT's South African owners were later investigated by the United States' FDA and FBI for providing unproven therapies.

The hearing comes after an undercover reporter working on behalf of BBC Newsnight investigated the clinic's operations and claimed they were offered therapies involving stem cells derived for the laboratory and not intended for human use. The GMC, sitting in London, has heard that nine patients, most who have progressive multiple sclerosis, visited Dr Trossel. Seven were injected with a substance that was said to contain stem cells.

Giving evidence, Dr Trossel told the GMC that in offering stem cell therapies it was generally 'worth a try,' although he admitted the muscular sclerosis group was 'one of the more difficult treatment groups,' the Telegraph reports. He said that, at times, the clinic offered stem cell therapies to over 30 per cent of its patients.

The British patients paid thousands of pounds to travel to Dr Trossel's clinic to undergo treatment which the GMC has heard was given despite 'no evidence' that the substance used contained stem cells or was safe for human use. Dr Trossel said the patients may need more time to benefit from the treatment.

Representing Dr Trossel, Robert Jay QC said that the issue to be decided by the GMC was whether the treatment was justifiable having regard to all the clinical evidence, the Telegraph writes. Dr Trossel denies the allegations being made against him.

Doctor says stem cell treatment for MS was 'worth a try' despite no evidence it worked
The Telegraph |  9 February 2010
Stem cells 'weren't for human use'
The Press Association |  10 February 2010
23 May 2011 - by Antony Starza-Allen 
A controversial stem cell therapy center operating out of Dusseldorf and Cologne, Germany, has closed. The news follows an undercover investigation by the Sunday Telegraph which claimed that the clinic offered unproven and dangerous stem cell therapies....
4 October 2010 - by Antony Starza-Allen 
A doctor has been struck off by the General Medical Council (GMC) for exploiting vulnerable patients by administering 'pointless' and 'unjustified' stem cell treatments...
19 April 2010 - by Antony Starza-Allen 
The UK's General Medical Council (GMC) has ruled that a UK-registered doctor has exploited a number of vulnerable patients who have multiple sclerosis, offering unproven treatments using stem cells not suitable for human use....
10 January 2010 - by Dr Vivienne Raper 
Scientist and patient groups want more safeguards to prevent clinics in the UK from offering unproven stem cell treatments, according to the Guardian newspaper. The calls come as a Harley Street doctor - Robert Trossel - comes before the General Medical Council (GMC) accused of misconduct, the newspaper reports. According to the Guardian, the upcoming GMC hearing will consider allegations that he offered, and made false claims about, stem cell therapy. Dr Trossel is accused of ...
2 May 2006 - by BioNews 
Controversial stem cell therapy is to be provided in the UK on overnight ferries sailing in international water in order to bypass EU regulation. Advanced Cell Therapeutics (ACT), a Swiss company which offers treatment to sufferers of neurological disorders at twelve clinics around the world including some in Holland and...
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