Doctor 'misled' MS patients with 'bogus' stem cell treatment


Pioneer Founding member
Doctor 'misled' MS patients with 'bogus' stem cell treatment

A doctor duped a group of multiple sclerosis sufferers into taking an alleged stem cell therapy despite no evidence that it worked, a disciplinary hearing was told.

Nine men and women, the majority of whom were suffering from the ''progressive and aggressive'' form of the disabling neurological disease, consulted Dutch-trained Dr Robert Trossel in the ''desperate'' hope they could achieve a marked improvement in their health.

The sufferers who travelled to his clinic in Rotterdam raised thousands of pounds to fund the therapy but there was ''no evidence'' that the substance injected into them by Dr Trossel contained stem cells or that it was fit for human use, the General Medical Council in London heard.

Stem cells 'able to reverse symtoms of multiple sclerosis'In the majority of cases, the treatment administered by Dr Trossel had ''no effect'' whatsoever on their condition, with those who felt they had benefited returning to their previous state of ill health within a few months, Tom Kark, counsel for the GMC, said.

He described the patients as ''vulnerable'' and facing a future ''likely to be characterised by further deterioration and cumulative disability'', when they sought the treatment from Dr Trossel.

''Dr Trossel claimed to be using a stem cell therapy in relation to the use of which of course there is considerable legitimate interest and advancement in the medical world,'' Mr Kark said.

''The GMC case against Dr Trossel is that his purported use of the therapy and the way that he went about it with these patients was wholly illegitimate, misleading and dishonest and there is considerable doubt that he was in fact using the appropriate stem cells at all.

''His methods and treatment, whilst very costly, appear to have been wholly unscientific.''

He added: ''Large sums of money, in many cases raised from donations and sponsored events, were forwarded to Dr Trossel or his associates by these individuals in the desperate hope that this treatment would lead to some marked improvement in their health.

''In the majority of cases the treatment had no effect whatsoever. Some if not all of the patients were given false, misleading, and the GMC says, dishonest advice about their conditions and the appropriate treatment for them.''

The GMC heard that the nine patients involved ? James McCorrisken, Malcolm Pear, Stephen Murphy, Anita Knowles, Rebecca Parker, Catherine Neal, Tracy Wagstaff, Karen Galley and Deborah Sandford ? are all willing to be identified in the case against Dr Trossel.

Dr Trossel injected a substance said to contain stem cells into all but two of them, it was alleged.

Some are now so debilitated by MS that they will be unable to attend the hearing in person and will have to give evidence by video link or have their statement read out for them at the hearing.

Dr Trossel denies a series of charges relating to all nine of the patients including acting in a way that is inappropriate and exploitative of vulnerable patients.

In a 10th case, Dr Trossel has denied making false and misleading statements to an investigative journalist who visited his private clinic in central London in 2006 claiming to be a sufferer of Hodgkin's disease as part of an investigation into alternative therapies for cancer.

The GMC was also told Dr Trossel had received a five-month prison sentence suspended for three years and a fine of 4,000 euros after being convicted in a Belgian court of two offences relating to stem cell treatment between October 2006 and January 2007.

One charge related to removing or transplanting stem cells at a place which was not a recognised hospital, and the second charge concerned the "illegal practice of medicine in Belgium" by assisting a Mr Aanen who failed to notify the authorities appropriately of his intention to carry out stem cell treatments.

In separate charges before the GMC, Dr Trossel has admitted failing to notify the GMC of a police caution he received in 2007 after making off without paying for parking charges at Stansted Airport.

He agreed to repay ?472.50 to National Car Parks (NCP), the GMC was told.