Feature

What are the questions to ask before starting stem cell treatment?

By Wideacademy - 13.11.2017

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If you are considering a stem cell treatment, you will probably already have a number of questions you plan to ask your clinician before proceeding further. But you might not have thought of everything – so below, we’ve compiled a comprehensive set of the questions you should ensure are answered before you make the decision to receive a steam cell treatment.

We’ve also provided reasons why you should ask this question – and how you should interpret the answer. Consider it a checklist, the answers to which can help you to decide whether or not to go ahead.

The treatment The fundamentals of the procedure, and what you can expect from it.

  • Is this treatment a clinical trial?
  • Is this treatment routine for my disease or condition?
  • Are there alternative treatment options for my disease or condition?
  • What benefits can be expected from this treatment?
  • How long will any benefits take to become evident?
  • How will benefits be measured?
  • Will I need any other medications or special care as part of the treatment?
  • Could taking this treatment now affect whether I get into a clinical trial in the future?
  • How will the procedure be carried out?

Scientific evidence It’s important to ensure that the procedure you are considering is backed by peer reviewed scientific evidence.

  • What scientific evidence is there that this procedure will will be effective in treating my disease or condition?
  • Where has this evidence been published?
  • How many people have been successfully treated for my condition or disease at your clinic, and how many haven’t?
  • Have findings relating specifically to the success and failure of treatments for my disease or condition at your clinic been published?

The stem cells There are a variety of different types of stem cell, and they can be sourced either from the patient’s body, or from a donor.

  • Will my own stem cells be used, or will they be from a donor?
  • Are there different types of stem cells?
  • How are the correct type of stem cells identified?
  • How are the stem cells sourced?
  • If the stem cells are from a donor, how will my immune system react to them?

Clinical trials Some additional questions you should ask if you are considering undergoing stem cell therapy as part of a clinical trial.

  • Have there been earlier clinical trials of this procedure?
  • If so, what was learned from these trials?
  • Does an ethics committee have independent oversight of this treatment plan?

Risks Risk is an inherent part of every procedure. Understanding the risks should be crucial to making a decision whether or not to proceed.

  • What are the risks of the procedure itself?
  • Are there any other risks I should be aware of?
  • What are the possible side effects, both immediate and long term?

Emergencies Understand what will happen in the case of a medical emergency as a result of the procedure.

  • What will be done if a particularly bad side effect occurs?
  • How well equipped is the clinic to handle emergencies, in particular bad side effects and allergic reactions?
  • Who is the person to contact in the case of an emergency, such as a particularly bad side effect or an allergic reaction?
  • Who will provide the medical care required in the case of an emergency?
  • Who will pay for additional medical care in the case of an emergency?
  • If I have to pay for the additional medical care in the case of an emergency, how much will it cost?

The clinicians

Know who is carrying out the procedure, and what their credentials are.

  • Who will be carrying out the procedure?
  • Who is the doctor in charge of the treatment?
  • Has the doctor received specialised training?
  • Have the other medical staff at the clinic, such as technical support staff, received specialised training?

Your rights Your rights will vary, based on whether you are a patient or a clinical trial participant.

  • What are my rights?
  • Do I have a right to confidentiality?
  • Do I have the right to withdraw from the treatment if I wish?
  • Do I have the right to be informed of any new data that might emerge about my procedure during the treatment?
  • Am I entitled to compensation if I am injured as a result of the treatment?

Costs Understand the full range of fixed and potential costs before proceeding.

  • How much does the treatment cost?
  • Is this price comprehensive – or will I need to pay any additional fees?
  • Are there any other costs I might incur as a result of this treatment?
  • Additionally: ask your insurance provider how much of the fee they will cover.