Italy Blocks Use of Controversial Stem Cell Therapy

first_imgOn the “potential risks involved, due to the lack of a clear plan of selection, screening and testing of the cells’ donors, resulting in the lack of exclusion of risks related to transmissible illnesses, such as HIV1 and HIV2.” An “inadequate description of the method,” due to the lack of a description of the way cells should give birth to new neurons Italian Ministry of Health Italian Health Minister Beatrice Lorenzin On “the lack of quality controls on cells,” which makes the treatment hard to replicate, thus not guaranteeing safety and efficacy of the product ROME—The controversy surrounding an unproven stem cell therapy in Italy may be drawing to a close. Italy’s Minister of Health Beatrice Lorenzin announced yesterday that Stamina, the Turin-based nonprofit foundation that developed the treatment, will not be allowed to test it on humans—at least not in Italy.The so-called Stamina method is a treatment based on bone marrow stem cells that Stamina’s President Davide Vannoni claims can grow new neurons under specific conditions and hence cure several neurodegenerative diseases. However, while thousands of patients still support Stamina and its treatment, scientists believe the method has no scientific basis. In May, the government passed legislation providing €3 million for the treatment to undergo a clinical trial. But in July, Lorenzin ordered Stamina to release its scientific files concerning the treatment for scrutiny by a committee of scientific experts to assess if the method is safe and effective enough to enter human trials. On 12 September, media reported that the experts had unanimously rejected the method, although the reasons behind the rejection were not released to the public. 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Dozens of patients are still receiving the Stamina method in a hospital in Brescia and a hundred others are on a waiting list following their appeal to Italian courts for the right to be treated by Stamina.While it is now unlikely that a formal clinical trial will ever take place, it remains unclear whether patients will continue to receive the treatment. Lorenzin told ScienceInsider that the matter lies with the Minister of Justice, not Health. “I wonder how the judges will continue to impose access to treatment after the strong position taken by the Ministry of Health,” De Luca says.Vannoni said that Stamina’s biologists are preparing to submit a paper to a peer-reviewed journal. He added that “the Minister of Health of an African country has already given the green light to human experiments for the treatment in that country.”last_img read more

MatSu Borough budget shrinking as population grows

first_imgMat-Su Borough LogoThe Matanuska-Susitna Borough’s budget proposal is out and it’s smaller than last year.Listen nowIf approved, the budget for the fastest-growing population center in the state would shrink about $9 million to about $400 million. The plan keeps school funding about the same as last year.The borough prides itself on having the leanest personnel to resident ratio of any municipality in the state, with one employee for every 330 residents, Borough Manager John Moosey said.“I think what it shows is that we’re trying to provide services the most economical way possible,” Moosey said.Moosey said cuts from cost-saving efforts have not been proposed across the board. The Borough has tried to prioritize parts of the budget like public safety and schools while putting off expenses for things like new equipment or vehicles, he said.As the number of people living in the Mat-Su has gone up, state contributions to the Borough have dropped, Moosey said. Considering the state’s revenue is dependent on oil production and forecasts are not optimistic, Moosey said he does not expect help from the state anytime soon.“There’s no other conclusion to draw, other than there’s less money for state operations and government and we have to make sure we’re providing services at a fair rate for our citizens,” Moosey said.Meantime, the Mat-Su Borough budget is up for public comment.Members of the public can testify at the Borough Assembly Chambers in Palmer at 6 p.m. Tuesday and in Willow at the community center on Thursday at 6 p.m.After that, the Mat-Su Borough Assembly will take up the budget.last_img read more