Aim: To provide a comprehensive analysis of clinical trials (CTs) listed in worldwide registries involving new applications for stem cell-based treatments and account for the role of industry.
Materials & methods: We developed a data set of 4749 stem cell CTs up to 2013 in worldwide registries. We defined 1058 novel CTs (i.e., trials that were not observational in nature; did not involve an established stem cell therapy for an established indication, such as hematopoietic stem cells for leukemia; and did not investigate supportive measures). Based on trial descriptions, we manually coded these for eight additional elements.
Results: Our analysis details the characteristics of novel stem cell CTs (e.g., stem cell types being tested, disease being targeted, and whether interventions were autologous or allogeneic), geotemporal trends, and private sector involvement as sponsor or collaborator.
Conclusion: The field is progressing at a steady pace with emerging business models for stem cell therapeutics. However, therapeutic rhetoric must be tempered to reflect current clinical and research realities.