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How does one get stem cell therapy? Do you request it, apply for it, or does your oncologist arrange it?

By Expert HERWriter March 26, 2009 - 12:20am
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Hello everyone,

I received this very heartfelt and poignant post from a reader concerning stem cell therapy, and how to go about getting it for their son, who has a stage 4 brain tumor.

I think this is an excellent question and one that I'm not sure how to answer. While I've read about stem cell treatment, I always thought the oncologist or physician would set it up for the patient.

Based on the email address, I believe this poster is from the United Kingdom. Can anyone help? Please see the post below:

"Our 36 year old Son has recently been diagnosed with GlioblastomaGrade4 Brain tumor. He underrwent operation and now is treated with radiotherapy and chemotherapy.Can he be helped with stem cells therapy. If so where do we apply to and how do we check on the method etc. Please reply and help us as soon as possible."

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Hi, Anon. I'm so sorry to read about what you are going through with your son.

Can you tell us where you live? In our researching, it may help us find something that is available to you. Michelle thought you might be in the UK, is that the case?

Stem cell treatment is still in very early stages, and not yet a common procedure. One thing that might help you is to search for clinical trials where doctors are doing research in stem cell treatments.

One place to find this information is:


which is a registry of both publicly and privately funded clinical trials both in the United States and in 163 countries around the world.

You can click on "Background Information" to see how the site works, or you can click on "Search for Clinical Trials" to bring up a general search page. If, for instance, I put "stem cells and brain" into this search box, I will get the following page of results:


However, that page refers to 248 studies, of all kinds of patients in all kinds of places. Instead of that general search, you may want to click on "advanced search," which allows you to fill in several fields of information (including a location).

Doing that brings up this page of just 6 results, two of which are recruiting:


If none of those trials are appropriate, you can back out and try a different search. I also did searches on glioblastoma, brain and pediatric, in addition to stem cells and United Kingdom; each brings up different results that might be helpful.

Studies marked in green are recruiting; studies marked in red are not. You can tell the site to hide the studies that are not recruiting. Here is a page of results I got when I searched on brain, glioblastoma and stem cell (but I did not specify a location):


Unfortunately, all of those open studies are in the United States.

This search on just brain and stem cell resulted in 69 results, and 3 of them show to be located in the UK:


Here is an explainer page that also has links to the National Institutes of Health's page on stem cells, the FDA clinical studies, a booklet of questions to ask overseas stem cell therapy providers (some are not reputable), and more:


Please let us know where you live and if travel for treatment is an option, and we can see what else we might be able to find out for you.

March 26, 2009 - 10:14am
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