The Italian Mind

Reflections from the Boot

Stem Cell Analysis Resumed for ‘Compassionate Reasons’

Celeste Carrer, a toddler suffering from muscular atrophy has been injected stem cells taken from the bone marrow of her mother Elisabetta over the past eighteen months. Such tratment reportedly enabled her to move her head, arms and legs, which were close to final paralysis.

The treatments were administred by Dr. Mario Andolina, MD at the City Hospital in Turin, Northern Italy, as part of ajoint effort with the Stamina Foundation, a non-profit organisation established in 2009 to push stem cells- based treatments.

A decision of the Turin’s prosecuting attorney Raffaele Guariniello put an halt to the treatment in May, while he also ordered an investigation into medical operators at the non-profit foundation.

Police raided the hospital’s laboratories whereas agents from the national drug agency blocked the “collection, transport, manipulation, cultivation, storage and administration of human cells” at both the hospital and foundation.

“The block may sadly cause the death of many patients,” Dr. Andolina said.

Elisabetta Carrer and her husband started a civil suit and won the legal approval in January 2011 to re-start the transplants.

“Clinical evidence show that Celeste’s condition has improved thanks to the treatments”, the mother of Celeste recalled, adding that they are administered under a decree approved in 2006.

According to current laws, stem cell analysis is allowed in Italy only when a patient is in an exceedingly serious health condition.

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