In January 2017, three women entered a study with their vision and left without it. Their ages ranging from 72 to 88, all three of these women suffered from macular degeneration, an eye disease closely related to old age. The patients each paid $5,000 to have both eyes treated with stem cell therapy, a process that was “both atypical and unsafe” according to several ophthalmology experts.
Just days after the procedure, all three women reported severe side effects, including bleeding and retinal detachment. One patient entirely lost her eyesight, while the other two lost most. None of the patients are expected to recover their sight. But scientists knew that this trial had flaws from the beginning. First and foremost, the patients were required to pay for their own procedures, which is a flagrant sign of illegitimate research. Additionally, medical professionals have tried to erase the history of the trial; when you visit government records of the trial online, it only says that the study was “withdrawn prior to enrollment,” which clearly was not the case.