Stem cell doctor struck off register

THE doctor who was flying into a Co Cork clinic to provide an unproven three-hour €19,000 stem cell treatment involving animal parts to multiple sclerosis (MS) patients has been struck off the British Medical Register.

Dutch-trained 56-year-old Dr Robert Trossel was told by the General Medicine Committee (GMC) that “the panel cannot rely upon you to make the welfare of your patients your first concern or be confident that the safety of patients you treat would be ensured”.

Dr Trossel’s main clinic was in Rotterdam in Holland but he was also offering unproven stem cell treatment in London and here at Dr John Dunphy’s practice at Carrigaline, Co Cork.

Hundreds of MS patients attended the Irish clinic before the service was deemed illegal in 2006 under EU regulations on the handling and quality of stem cells.

The stem cells that he was using on patients “were not intended for human use” the Fitness to Practice hearing was told.

The treatment also contained bovine brain and spinal cord, and the GMC panel ruled he had abused his position as a doctor by failing to warn patients about potential risks of vCJD disease.

During the hearing, Dr Trossel conceded he had been “too enthusiastic” about the treatment.

But, in their ruling yesterday, Tom Kark of the GMC told Dr Trossel that he had “exploited vulnerable patients and their families” and that his treatments were “unjustifiable and without scientific or other clinical or medical basis”.

“You have given false hope and made unsubstantiated and exaggerated claims to patients suffering from degenerative and devastating illnesses. Your conduct has unquestionably done lasting harm, if not physically, then mentally and financially, to these patients and also to their families and supporters,” he said.

“It is, therefore, undeniable that you have abused the position of trust afforded to you. You continue to advocate untested and unproved treatments, using your status as a registered doctor to reinforce your personal beliefs.”

Dr Trossel was struck off the register with immediate effect. The Irish Stem Cell Foundation last night welcomed the removal of Dr Trossel saying “patients should be protected from this kind of practice”.

“New treatments, especially cell replacement with stem cells, should be closely assessed for their comparative effectiveness and risk so that the patient’s best interests are objectively upheld. Clinical trials are a necessity to objectively measure effectiveness and risk of a new experimental protocol. So far only nine treatments using stem cells as ‘cell replacement therapies’. These include certain cancers like leukaemia and lymphoma and rare blood disorders,” spokesman Dr Stephen Sullivan said.


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