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article imageHeart cell transplants show 'less promise'

By Tim Sandle     May 3, 2014 in Science
London - A new report argues that using bone marrow stem cells to treat heart disease is less promising than other research findings have suggested.
A team of researchers in the U.K. have revealed, in the British Medical Journal, hundreds of discrepancies in the data relating to the use of stem cells to treat heart disease. They arrived at this conclusion after examining 133 different reports from 49 clinical trials for the use of autologous bone marrow transplants to treat heart disease.
According to Forbes, the investigators found:
numbers that don’t add up,
misclassification of a trial as prospective randomized rather than retrospective/observational,
patients whose sex was misreported or who were listed as both dead and alive,
some errors are raising concerns of scientific misconduct.
Commenting on the report, Paolo Bianco at the Sapienza University of Rome told Nature News that the findings are particularly “concerning because the therapeutic approach is already being commercialized. Premature trials can create unrealistic hopes for patients, and divert resources from the necessary basic studies we need to design more appropriate treatments.”
A Cochrane Collaboration review of the same procedure, also published this week in the British Medical Journal, found reason to question the reported effectiveness of stem cell treatments for heart disease and congestive heart failure. Based on these critical findings, stem cell research for treating heart disease may not be as advanced as first thought.
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