Experimental Biotech Drugs Flourish in China

nature-biotech.pngJan 7 (IPS) – China’s booming medical biotechnology industry is producing controversial drugs and gene therapy treatment programmes for domestic use, as well as to treat critically ill foreigners seeking potential cures unavailable elsewhere.

China’s Beike Biotechnologies harvests stem cells from the umbilical cord or amniotic membrane and injects them into patient’s spinal region. More than 1,000 patients, including 60 foreigners, have been treated for a variety of conditions including Alzheimer’s disease, autism, brain trauma, cerebral palsy and spinal cord injury, according to a study published Monday in the journal Nature Biotechnology.

“We met foreigners there who were happy with Beike’s treatments,” said Peter Singer of the McLaughlin-Rotman Centre for Global Health at the University of Toronto and co-author of the study. Continue reading