1-minute animation: What is stem cell tourism?

Professor Timothy Caulfield reveals the underside of this dangerous trend

What is stem cell tourism? Narrated by Professor Timothy Caulfield from Stem Cell Network on Vimeo.


Scientific discoveries can lead to great enthusiasm about their potential medical benefits. A danger is that this enthusiasm may lead to hype and exaggerated claims of near-term benefits. In the realm of stem cell research, excitement about the benefits of this field have led to a variety of clinics opening around the world that offer therapies that are not yet proven to be safe or effective. When patients travel nationally or internationally to obtain unproven stem cell therapies it is known as "stem cell tourism." This video aims to explain this term in a brief and concise format.

StemCellShorts are narrated by experts in various aspects of stem cell research who are based in Canada. This one is narrated by Timothy Caulfield (@caulfieldtim), a Canada Research Chair in Health Law and Policy and a Professor in the Faculty of Law and the School of Public Health at the University of Alberta.

Related Resources

If you are considering obtaining a cellular therapy, please consult the resources below to find our more information regarding the potential risks:

About StemCellShorts

StemCellShorts are the brainchild of Ben Paylor (@BenPaylor), a PhD candidate in Experimental Medicine at the University of British Columbia, and Dr. Mike Long, a post-doctoral fellow at the University of Toronto.

This and the next four videos are jointly funded by the Canadian Stem Cell Network and Canadian Stem Cell Foundation. They are produced at the Vancouver-based animation studio InfoShots (@InfoShots), with award-winning animator David Murawsky and Emmy-nominated composer James Wallace creating the animations and music.


Elsevier Connect Contributors

Ben PaylorMike Long, PhDBen Paylor (@BenPaylor) is a PhD candidate in the Experimental Medicine program under the supervision of Dr. Fabio Rossi at the University of British Columbia. His research focuses on understanding the role of tissue-resident mesenchymal progenitors in repair processes of the heart. He is a 2012-13 Action Canada fellow and 2014-15 Friedman Scholar.

Paylor completed a Bachelor of Medical Science at the University of Western Ontario, which included a 1-year research exchange to Umea in Northern Sweden. After that, he, he completed a Master of Philosophy degree in Cardiovascular Biology and Medicine at Maastricht University in the Netherlands.

He is also very interested in the field of science communication and policy. He is the co-founder and director of InfoShots and writer and director of several award-winning science films. Outside of science, he is an avid pianist and tennis player.

Dr. Mike Long earned his PhD in the Department of Medical Genetics at the University of British Columbia, where he was also involved in the creation of several start-up companies, including the animation studio InfoShots and the iOS development company Watermelon App Works Inc.

As a postdoctoral fellow at the University of Toronto, he is currently focused on the identification of ligands for orphan nuclear receptors and remains involved in a number science communication and education projects.

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