Swiss authorities target 'live cell' injection clinics

March 26, 2015

Swiss health regulators announced Thursday they have launched a criminal probe into clinics suspected of giving clients potentially dangerous animal cell injections as part of anti-ageing treatments.

The investigation targets and people who have illegally offered the injections which are particularly popular among wealthy Chinese, Middle Eastern and Russian nationals, said the Federal Office of Public Health (OFSP).

As part of the so-called live cell treatments invented in the 1930s by Swiss doctor Paul Niehans cells extracted from sheep, cow or pig foetuses are injected into patients hoping to roll back the effects of age or searching for renewed vigour.

Authorities say there is no scientific evidence proving the effectiveness of the treatments, which providers also claim can help fight against migraines and chronic conditions like cancer.

Health authorities said they know of at least 35 clinics that offer the treatments yet it appears none of them have the proper permits. The clinics were already warned in 2014 to stop operating without authorisation.

According to Swiss TV the treatments are worth millions of euros per year to the clinics that deliver them.

The head of a travel agency specialising in medical tourism for Chinese people stood up for the cell therapies.

"These treatments work. We have clients who come back every two years," said Swissna agency owner Xu Junhua. "If it didn't work, people wouldn't spend so much money."

The injections, authorities warn, can prompt allergic reactions, abscesses and blood infections. The animal cells can also infect patients with disease-causing pathogens.

Explore further: Nature reports on unapproved stem-cell therapies in China

Related Stories

Nature reports on unapproved stem-cell therapies in China

April 12, 2012
(Phys.org) -- A report in the journal Nature on the extent of unapproved stem-cell treatments in China has found that the practice is still widespread and is attracting thousands of medical tourists to the country.

NFL athletes are seeking unproven stem cell treatments

December 4, 2014
Some National Football League (NFL) players have been seeking out unproven stem cell therapies to help accelerate recoveries from injuries, according to a new paper from Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy. ...

HK woman dies, 3 hospitalized by beauty treatment

October 11, 2012
(AP)—Hong Kong authorities said one woman has died and three others have been hospitalized after undergoing a beauty treatment involving blood transfusions.

WHO calls for 'smart' syringes to stem deadly diseases

February 23, 2015
The World Health Organization has called on healthcare providers around the globe to switch to syringes that can only be used once in order to better battle deadly diseases spread by needle sharing.

Old but not wise? Our growing anti-ageing industry

May 3, 2013
Growing old is generally viewed in negative terms in our society. And our individualistic and consumerist approach to health care leads us to believe that it's within our power to alter the "biological clock"—if we are ...

Recommended for you

A low-gluten, high-fiber diet may be healthier than gluten-free

November 16, 2018
When healthy people eat a low-gluten and fibre-rich diet compared with a high-gluten diet, they experience less intestinal discomfort including less bloating. Researchers at University of Copenhagen show that this is due ...

Youth dating violence shaped by parents' conflict-handling views, study finds

November 16, 2018
Parents who talk to their children about nonviolent ways of resolving conflict may reduce children's likelihood of physically or psychologically abusing their dating partners later—even when parents give contradictory messages ...

Why we shouldn't like coffee, but we do

November 15, 2018
Why do we like the bitter taste of coffee? Bitterness evolved as a natural warning system to protect the body from harmful substances. By evolutionary logic, we should want to spit it out.

Dietary fat is good? Dietary fat is bad? Coming to consensus

November 15, 2018
Which is better, a low-fat/high-carbohydrate diet or a high-fat/low-carbohydrate diet—or is it the type of fat that matters? In a new paper featured on the cover of Science magazine's special issue on nutrition, researchers ...

Low-carb diets cause people to burn more calories

November 14, 2018
Most people regain the weight they lose from dieting within one or two years, in part because the body adapts by slowing metabolism and burning fewer calories. A meticulous study led by Boston Children's Hospital, in partnership ...

Colder, darker climates increase alcohol consumption and liver disease

November 14, 2018
Where you live could influence how much you drink. According to new research from the University of Pittsburgh Division of Gastroenterology, people living in colder regions with less sunlight drink more alcohol than their ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.