In the United States there are countless regulatory hurdles that must be overcome for new drugs and new medical treatments to make their way to the masses. Not so in China!
Check out Beike BioTech, a bio-technology company in China that has “…treated over 2,000 patients with stem cell injections for diseases like Alzheimers, Ataxia, Autism, ALS, Brain Trauma, Cerebral Infarction, Cerebral Hemorrhage, Cerebral Palsy, Guillain-Barre, Encephalatropy, and Spinal Cord Injury”.
In the engineering world there is a common and powerful custom of developing solutions to problems simply by trying lots of things and seeing what works. Because of intense regulation in the United States it is not possible to just try random procedures or drugs on people to see what happens. In many cases this is for good reason, but a huge price is paid for this as valuable treatments are delayed or not even attempted.
In China, on the other hand, we are witnessing the power of trial and error medicine when it is not denied by regulation. People from all over the world are flying to China to companies such as Beike to pay for experimental and unproven medical treatment for some of the world’s most terrifying diseases. Beike even admits on its own website that the benefits of their stem cell treatments may be questionable for many of their patients. But if you have the money and you have no other options to treat your severely debilitating illness then Beike is happy to give you that small glimmer of hope.
Using humans as laboratory mice certainly has its moral hazards, but it also holds great power as a tool for medical innovation. The United States might win the game of morals, but we can increasingly expect many of the greatest achievements in the game of medical breakthroughs to come from places like China where morals are seen differently.
On a related note I was recently speaking to my neighbor who is a specialist in developing drugs for cancer treatment. He will soon be moving back to China after living in the United States for 20 years. Why? Because he says he can’t get anything done here in the United States. By going to China he will have an ample supply of patients to try his drugs on and few regulations to limit his ability to experiment.