Most Important URL?
If somebody asks you, how do you know if a “clinical trials” is legit– or not– send them to www.clinicaltrials.gov.
It is also great for you or anyone interested in the latest on their disease of interest.
Go to the website, type the name of any disease into the search box at the top of the page, and you will find “the good stuff”– probably a lot– of clinical trials of new therapies and medicines being tested in accordance with FDA standards.
This matters because even the most casual websearch for stem cell therapies can send you to a lot of people very good at taking your money– and perhaps endangering your health– but maybe not so good at bringing anybody closer to cure.
The Food and Drug Administration process is slow, painstaking– and sometimes painfully slow.
When the Hans Keirstead/Geron stem cell therapy went forward, (first funded by the Roman Reed Spinal Cord Injury Research Act of 1999) it took 9 years, many series of lab tests, and approximately 22,000 pages of correspondence with the FDA– but when it was finally tried on newly paralyzed people, there were no major deleterious side effects on anybody.
Slow, yes. But safety matters. What it boils down to is this:
Which would you rather have tested on you or a loved one– something which had multiple tests before, checked over many times by people with no financial axe to grind– or somebody who just thought: “Oh, good idea, let’s try something!”
www.clinicaltrials.gov has no connection with me.
And the only connection I have with the FDA is a couple phone calls. I felt the FDA was taking too long on the paralysis tests, so I called them up. Turns out they have someone called an OMBUDSMAN who will talk to ordinary citizens like myself. He hooked me up with the actual person who was making decisions on the timing of the stem cell trials, and we talked for perhaps an hour.
At the end I was still frustrated with the pace of progress, but I was convinced that his reasons were scientific, not political.
So check out www.clinicaltrials.gov and see what you think.
Don C. Reed is the author of the forthcoming book, STEM CELL BATTLES: Prop 71 and Beyond– How Ordinary People Can Fight Back Against the Crushing Burden of Chronic Disease, to be released in October by World Scientific Publishing, Inc.