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End of the road for rogue stem-cell therapy in Italy

Posted on behalf of Alison Abbott.

The Italian health minister Beatrice Lorenzin declared on 2 October that her government will not support a clinical trial of a controversial stem cell therapy that it promised last year.

Her statement, based on conclusions of an expert committee,  draws a line under a bitter two-year  row between the therapy’s inventor Davide Vannoni — who proclaimed it a cure-all and achieved an unlikely political influence — and Italian scientists and health-agency officials who declared it ineffective and possibly dangerous.

At the height of the row, hundreds of patients and their relative  took to the streets in Rome and other cities in support of Vannoni and his Stamina Foundation. The affair dominated headlines.

A committee of experts concluded in October last year that the treatment was phoney, but in December a court ruled that committee illegally biased. Lorenzin established a new committee earlier this year which has now drawn the same conclusion as its predecessor.

The Stamina Foundation is estimated to have treated well over eighty seriously ill people since 2007, mostly children.


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