The Italian Parliament has decided that the administration of a controversial stem cell treatment for neurodegenerative diseases, provided by the Stamina Foundation in Turin, can continue although on only a small scale. Lawmakers also ordered a formal clinical trial of the therapy and allocated € 3 million to pay for it. The law, opposed by many stem cell scientists, became official after it was approved by Italys Chamber of Deputies on 20 May and by the Senate 2 days later.
Although some patients say that they have benefited from the treatment, researchers contend that the Stamina Foundations therapy hasn’t been properly described, let alone shown to be effective; a 15 March open letter signed by 13 stem cell scientists compared it to ”snake oil”. Spending millions on a trial is a waste of money, contends Massimo Dominici of the University of Modena and Reggio Emilia, who is president-elect of the International Society for Cellular Therapy.