Frequently Asked Questions

What are the goals of Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center at UC San Diego Health?

Here in San Diego, the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine and its members, the Salk Institute for Biological Sciences, the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, the Scripps Research Institute, the La Jolla Institute for Allergy & Immunology, and UC San Diego are all working together on the science needed to develop therapies for difficult and complex disease and injury to move research into the practice of medicine. The Sanford Center will be supporting approved clinical trials for safety and effectiveness when we have evidence that the science and medicine are ready.  

We are very glad that community members like you are listening, learning, and supporting our work. If you need further medical information, please call your medical doctor.

What is the focus of the Sanford Center right now?

The Sanford Center will focus on diabetes, spinal cord injuries, heart problems, and cancer, and join with other companies and researchers to conduct clinical trials. 

What are clinical trials?

Clinical trials are early studies that establish the safety, and then the effectiveness of a proposed treatment. The options change constantly as new trials begin and as ongoing trials progress through each trial stage. 

How can I find specific clinical trials?

You can keep up with the opening of new clinical trials, and changes in existing trials at http://clinicaltrials.gov/ct/info/resources and http://clinicaltrials.gov/. When using this website, if you see trials that are of interest to you, we recommend that you read them as carefully as you can, and then print them out for discussion with your doctor. Please keep in touch with respected physicians whom you know and trust for all aspects of your healthcare.

To find out about clinical trials at UC San Diego, click: http://health.ucsd.edu/clinicaltrials.asp.

How much do these treatments cost?

We think it is unethical to charge for untested treatments.

Unfortunately, there are people who have taken advantage of stem cell publicity to charge fees for treatments that have not been adequately tested for safety and effectiveness. UC San Diego clinical doctors, researchers, and ethicists advise that it is unethical to charge patients for treatments that have not been validated.

Alleged treatments are offered for a variety of things. The Sanford Center believes that websites often inaccurately portray treatments as safe and effective for a broad range of injury and disease. Potential side effects are downplayed and testimonials are presented instead of evidence from research articles in reputable scientific journals. The treatments can be expensive, and the cost to your health may be even worse.

The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR) has expressed concerns about disreputable clinics, saying “Numerous clinics around the world are exploiting patients’ hopes by purporting to offer new and effective stem cell therapies for seriously ill patients, typically for large sums of money and without credible scientific rationale, transparency, oversight, or patient protections. The ISSCR is deeply concerned about the potential physical, psychological, and financial harm to those who pursue unproven stem cell ‘therapies’ and the general lack of scientific transparency and professional accountability of those engaged in these activities.” The ISSCR website offers excellent advice on their website: http://www.closerlookatstemcells.org/Top_10_Stem_Cell_Treatment_Facts.html