Doug Sipp of the RIKEN CDB and Kyoto University CiRA offers this additional information on yesterday’s post:This recent development is interesting for a number of reasons. One of the people arrested, Yuliy Baltaytis, has been working in stem cell tourism for several years, and gained notoriety when a clinic he operated in Barbados, The Institute of Regenerative Medicine, was closed after a BBC expose made allegations that the fetal stem cells used in treatments were being sourced unethically in the Ukraine. He has also collaborated in the past with William Rader, of Medra fame. The Budapest Times is claiming that the cells being used in the treatment that led to the arrest were human ES cells, but given Dr Baltaytis’ history, it seems more likely that the intended cells were indeed of fetal origin.
On a personal note: I interviewed the Barbados Institute for a story I wrote back in 2005 for Nature Biotechnology (sub required). At the time, they were burnishing scientific credentials, but a dip into the archived web revealed that they had previously advertised themselves as a stem cell spa. (Here’s an analysis of how unregulated stem cell clinics advertise on the Internet)