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MDS 2023 | Bioethical concerns in transplant studies in movement disorders

Cindy Towns, MBChB, PhD, Wellington Hospital, Wellington, New Zealand, highlights several ethical issues surrounding stem cell research, including the moral status of the early human embryo and fetal tissue transplants, emphasizing the divergent opinions on the value and protection of these entities. Another critical question is the creation of early human embryos specifically for research and the potential risks of commodifying human tissue. However, Dr Towns highlights that the proliferation of for-profit private stem cell clinics poses a more pressing concern. With nearly 3,000 such clinics in the United States alone, the unregulated and unproven methods these clinics employ to promise disease mitigation and cures outside clinical trials are concerning. This interview took place at the 2023 International Congress of Parkinson’s Disease and Movement Disorders in Copenhagen, Denmark.

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