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Trial and error

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Italian officials should not go ahead with expensive clinical tests of an unproven stem-cell therapy that has no good scientific basis.

The Italian government is planning to oversee a clinical trial of a controversial stem-cell therapy. There are many reasons for the trial to be stopped ā€” and no good reason for it to be carried out.

Last week, Nature revealed that the method used by Italian researcher Davide Vannoni, founder of the Stamina Foundation in Brescia, to treat scores of very sick patients is based on flawed data. The revelation struck a major nerve, and hit the front pages of the main newspapers in Italy, as well as featuring on television and radio talk shows. A highly emotional debate about whether Stamina therapy works, or could ever work, has been running long and hot for months. Vannoni denies any wrongdoing.

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