NMC warns doctors against using stem cell therapy for people with autism

New Delhi : The National Medical Commission (NMC) has directed doctors not to use stem cell therapy for the treatment of autism citing insufficient evidence and lack of efficacy.

NMC officials said none of the existing international guidelines or studies recommend stem cell therapy for autistics. It warned doctors that if they use such treatment for autism even for promotion and advertisement, it would be considered professional misconduct and strict action would be taken against them.

Stem cell therapy is an expensive treatment procedure currently used to repair cells and tissues for patients with blood cancer and other blood-related disorders.

According to WHO, the prevalence of autism in India is estimated to be around 1-2 per 1,000 children and around 3 times higher in boys.

“These recommendations are in response to a court case where the court wanted us to set up a committee and recommend whether or not the stem cell procedure should be used in autism because its use has become so widespread despite the fact That we don’t have that much scientific evidence for the use of stem cell therapy in the treatment of autism. That’s why the NMC has come up with these recommendations,” said Yogendra Malik, NMC member ethics and medical registration board.

“Many experts in the field have noted the prevalent unethical practice of offering SCT as a treatment for ASD (autism spectrum disorder). In addition, they have expressed concern and concern about the indiscriminate promotion and predatory marketing of stem cell therapy in ASD. has been warned about, leading to false hopes, unrealistic expectations and exploitation of affected populations and their families.” doctors.

“Currently, stem cell therapy is not recommended as a treatment for ASD in clinical practice. Its promotion and advertising would be considered professional misconduct. More research needs to be done and encouraged in terms of well-designed double-blind randomized control trials (RCTs),” the official said, adding that international guidelines including the ICMR guidelines conclude that there is insufficient The evidence is there and calls for more high-quality research.”

There is no “cure” for ASD. Parent and carer education and counseling is the first step to help them understand, accept and cope with their child’s problem and also learn how to be part of home-based parenting mediation Be

According to the NMC, in 2020 the largest well-designed double-blind randomized placebo-controlled study of stem cell therapy in autism patients was conducted by American child clinical psychologist Geraldine Dawson. In this study of 180 children diagnosed with autism, stem cell therapy was given to 119 children with ASD, along with 61 controls. At the end of six months, there were no differences between cases and controls on any of the primary outcome measures.

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