Chinese official doubts report on illegal gene therapy

July 29th, 2008 - 3:03 pm ICT by IANS  

Beijing, July 29 (Xinhua) A Chinese health official said he doubted the authenticity of a German TV report about Chinese clinics offering performance-enhancing stem-cell therapy treatment for athletes, saying that it was technically impossible. Mao Qunan, Health Ministry spokesman, Monday said that, at present, there were just a few hospitals or medical institutions that had the capability of offering stem-cell therapy, and that this was mainly used for the treatment of leucocythemia and lack of immunity, and not for performance-enhancing therapy.

“I have consulted some leading experts, who said the stem-cell therapy for enhancing athletes’ performance was technically impossible at present, and it is also prohibited by the Chinese government,” said Mao.

ARD, a German-based television company, reported last week that a Chinese doctor offered stem-cell therapy to a reporter posing as an American swimming coach in return for $24,000.

However, Mao said he found the documentary had no location, no time and no specific individuals. He doubted the authenticity of the report.

Mao said as the documentary was filmed with a concealed camera it was unclear whether the doctor cheated the German TV company, or the German TV company cheated the public.

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