Stem cell research is a controversial topic, not just in the United States, but in other places around the world. Our firm does not take a positive or negative stance in the usage of stem cell research for those living with paralysis, but we do follow both sides of the debate.
Up until now, foreigners came to Costa Rica to enjoy tropical landscapes and cheap health care. This health care includes inexpensive spinal cord injury treatments. According to ABC News, Costa Rica’s health ministry put a stop to the usage of stem cells to treat injured persons starting this month.
Stem cell treatments for paralysis and other injuries is being stopped in Costa Rica.
Close to 400 foreigners have sought the assistance of the Riordan’s Institute of Cellular Medicine since it opened in 2006. Spinal cord injury treatments that cost an arm and a leg in the U.S. are only a fraction of those medical bills in Costa Rica, and according to former patients, it’s effective.
“I’m not getting up and running, but I’m making very good progress,” said a 48-year-old neurologist from South Florida. The man became paraplegic last October after getting into a car accident on his way home from work.
He and others have said that they would not be doing as well as they have been without the stem cell treatments administered to them in clinics over the Central American country. Opposition to these treatments, including Costa Rican officials, have a different view.
In May, 2010, the health ministry of Costa Rica ordered Riordan — the clinic with the most stem cell usage from master cells — to discontinue offering treatments involving stem cells taken from patients’ own bone marrow, fatty tissue, or donated umbilical cords. The reasons cited included safety and unknown hazards associated with stem cell usage.
“If [stem cell treatment’s] efficiency and safety has not been proven, we don’t believe it should be used,” said doctor and chief of the ministry’s research council. “As a health ministry, we must always protect the human being.
And so the debate continues. Are stem cells effective in curing paralysis or are they dangerous forms of treatment? Our firm hopes that one day a cure to spinal cord injuries is discovered. Until then, we’ll keep a close eye on the development of stem cell research and usage around the globe.