Aim: Explore the nature and extent of web-based promotion of stem cell treatments marketed by clinics in the UK. Materials & methods: Web-based analysis of clinics in the UK using predefined variables, with analysis of eligible clinics according to preset criteria of ethical relevance. Results: A majority (79%) of UK clinics were judged to be problematic. Information was found to be lacking, misleading or otherwise problematic in several respects, including a lack of information on risks of adverse effects, unjustifiably optimistic depictions of therapeutic effectiveness, and questionable presentational approaches such as the use of celebrity patient testimonials. Conclusion: In a majority of cases, commercial clinics in the UK portray stem cell therapies on their websites in ethically questionable ways.
- Informed consent
- Stem cells