WASHINGTON (BP)–Hungarian police have arrested four people for their alleged involvement in an illegal stem cell clinic.
The untested treatments utilized stem cells from human embryos and aborted babies, according to Reuters news service.
An American, two Hungarians and a Ukrainian were arrested, with three of them detained while attempting to provide a treatment to a patient in a Budapest clinic, Reuters reported.
“There is well-founded suspicion that a U.S. citizen called Julliy B. has carried out stem cell treatments for money within the framework of a Hungarian stem cell research laboratory and a Hungarian-owned private clinic since 2007,” Hungarian police said in late July, according to Reuters.
Patients typically were charged $25,000 for a treatment, the police reported.
Stem cells are the body’s master cells that can develop into other cells and tissues, providing hope for producing cures for a variety of diseases. Extracting stem cells from embryos for research results in the destruction of the tiny human beings. Embryonic stem cells have yet to produce treatments for human beings and have been plagued by the development of tumors in lab animals. Procuring adult stem cells, however, does not harm donors, and such cells have produced therapies for at least 73 ailments in human beings, according to Do No Harm, a coalition promoting ethics in research. Induced pluripotent stem cells, which are adult cells reprogrammed to an embryonic-like state, have produced promising results in lab animals. Their extraction does not harm donors.
Compiled by Baptist Press Washington bureau chief Tom Strode.