China’s enormous investment in the field of regenerative medicine has catapulted the nation to the world’s fifth most productive contributor to the scientific literature, despite continued international condemnation of it research methods, according to a study in Regenerative Medicine.
The report was authored by Dominique McMahon and colleagues at the McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health.
It describes China’s aggressive efforts to recruit top international scientists, as well as the broadly impugned practice of administering unproven stem cell treatments to thousands of domestic and foreign patients.
Chinese researchers contributed more than 1,100 articles on the subject to peer-reviewed journals in 2008. That’s up from 37 in 2000 and more than any country in the world except the US, Germany, Japan, and the UK.
McMahon and colleagues indicate that China has recently instituted new rules governing stem cell treatments, but they need to be enforced more strictly if the nation is to repair its seedy reputation in the field.
Right now in China, more than 200 hospitals use stem cell therapy to treat patients with autism, cataracts, diabetes, Lou Gehrig’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Parkinson’s disease, stroke traumatic brain and spinal cord injury and many other conditions.
Yet until May 2009, China did not require such therapies to have been subjected to clinical trials designed to assess the safety and effectiveness of such therapies.
China made the change after international experts and many Chinese researchers complained about gross violations of standard scientific research principles.
“China is an important player in regenerative medicine,” McMahon told BurrillReport. “Despite the media’s focus on stem cell tourism, the international community needs to recognize that Chinese researchers are making important contributions to the science of this field, and China should be included in international discourses on standards and regulations.”