To the editor: Stem cells have long been an area of great interest and exploration across disease and disability groups. Christopher Reeve, who sustained a spinal cord injury in 1995, was one of the pioneering voices to champion stem cell research and broaden our understanding of its impact.
While he was right — stem cells offer great potential — this promising area of science is under siege by stem cell tourism.
As reporter Michael Hiltzik highlighted, clinics in the United States and abroad offer access to unproven therapies with no credible science to back up their claims. Fueled by patients who believe they have nothing to lose, stem cell tourism is a dangerous and growing business.
There are a number of stem cell studies happening around the world that are scientifically meritorious, which is why the Reeve Foundation is committed to calling out the bad actors who are causing significant damage to the field and preying on a vulnerable community. We appreciate Hiltzik’s efforts to shed light on the unsettling truth regarding the prevalence of stem cell tourism.
Peter Wilderotter, Short Hills, N.J.
The writer is president and chief executive of the Christopher & Dana Reeve Foundation.