The following Handbook has been created to help you understand the status of stem cell research and treatments in Australia and overseas.

The Handbook aims to help patients critically analyse stem cell treatments before considering taking part in them. As with all medical treatments, there are risks involved.

Currently, the range of diseases for which there are proven treatments using stem cells is quite small and the only established stem cell therapies are those of the blood system involving transplants of blood stem cells (usually from bone marrow but with cord blood also being developed as an alternative).

Clinical research also includes mesenchymal, skin, corneal and cartilage stem cells. All other medical procedures involving stem cells are still currently considered experimental.

The National Stem Cell Foundation of Australia has developed and published the Handbook in conjunction with Stem Cells Australia. The Handbook has been updated in 2013 and 2015 to reflect advances in stem cell science and clinical research, and the increasing number of unproven stem cell treatments being offered in Australia and overseas.

The Australian Stem Cell Handbook

You will need Adobe Reader to view the Handbook, which you can download for free here.

This Handbook does not seek to advise or evaluate the treatments, or an individual’s reasons for travelling for treatment. Instead it aims to provide the patient with as much information as possible prior to considering any therapy.

This Handbook summarises the pros and cons of medical travel, potential risks and benefits, and helps patients evaluate their options when considering travelling overseas for unproven treatments.

We hope this information will assist you and help you make fully informed decisions about potential treatments.

We have also compiled a list of potentially helpful resources from other organisations.


We aim to:

  • Promote the study and use of stem cells

  • Prevent or control diseases or illness

  • Enhance public education about stem cells