(ANSA) - Rome, January 13 - A report on the controversial
'Stamina' stem-cell treatment has alleged the foundation behind
it was illegally pursuing financial interests above the common
In a copy of the report obtained by ANSA, a panel of
experts appointed by Italy's health ministry in December said
the Stamina Foundation displayed "evidence of commercial
interests, improperly linked to possible public funding and in
clear conflict with the primary interest defined by the letter
and spirit of (the law)".
The contents of the report have dealt several blows to the
treatment, calling its central premise flawed and accusing its
practitioners of ignorance in the field of stem-cell biology.
"Some sections of the protocol were copied from Wikipedia,"
added the report.
Supporters of the therapy say it could be a cure for fatal
degenerative nerve diseases such as spinal muscular atrophy,
while detractors say it is devoid of scientific merit.
The first expert panel that the Italian government
appointed had been asked to come up with a trial design for the
However, it concluded in September that the treatment has
no scientific merit and that there was no point in doing the
study, for which the Italian government had allocated three
Following a public outcry including demonstrations by
wheelchair-bound patients threatening to turn off their oxygen
supply in protest, Italy's health ministry appointed a second
expert panel in December.
But it appears to have reached the same conclusions as the
first panel, recommending the treatment not be administered in