Medical student alleges ragging, senior booked at Solan

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HomeNational Medical CommissionNMC : Treating people with autism with stem cell therapy, professional misconduct

NMC : Treating people with autism with stem cell therapy, professional misconduct

New Delhi :  The National Medical Commission (NMC) has stated that using unproven stem cell therapy to treat autistic children will be treated as “professional misconduct” indicating that it makes doctors liable for punitive action in case of violation. For the first time, the regulator for doctors in India has recognised the problem of predatory marketing of stem cell therapies to treat autism. The indiscriminate promotion has led to the creation of false hopes, unrealistic expectations, and exploitation of autistic children and their families. Until now, the ambiguity around the controversial therapy allowed some doctors and companies to subject hundreds of kids to the experimental treatment, which comes at an exorbitant cost. The Ethics & Medical Registration Board of the National Medical Commission in a recent order citing scientific evidence collected by an expert committee, said that stem cell therapy is not recommended as a treatment for autism spectrum disorder in clinical practice. “In view of the above recommendation, use of stem cells in ASD, its promotion and advertisement will be considered as professional misconduct,” says the NMC order, dated December 6. The order says that further research needs to be conducted and encouraged in terms of well-designed double-timed, randomised clinical trials to explore the safety and efficacy of therapy for the condition. Though there is no database on such centers, estimates suggest there are more than 100 such centers across India offering stem cell therapy for autistic children. Many pediatric neurologists and neurosurgeons have endorsed stem cell treatment as a cure for the disability. It is estimated that one round of treatment costs parents anywhere between Rs 3-5 lakh and there are often multiple rounds of therapy for autistic children.