Cell-therapy (Siccacell) in Down's syndrome

S. Levin, M. Armoni, M. Schlesinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Parents of Down's syndrome children are doubly unfortunate because, in the absence of any known 'cure' for this condition, they live in hopes and are likely to be influenced by any suggestion that appears to offer some amelioration of the patient's signs and symptoms, particularly the physical stigmata and diminished intelligence. It is over 50 years since cell-therapy, the implantation of animal tissues or injection of animal cell suspensions, became popular in Europe for the prevention of aging or the cure of various disorders and diseases. In the last 30 years cell-therapy has been advocated for use in children in the treatment of mental deficiency, Down's and various other diseases. Increasing numbers of families are inquiring about its efficacy or even spending large sums of money on its implementation. This review of cell-therapy as it specifically relates to Down's syndrome discusses the lack of a biological basis for injecting lyophilized animal cells from various organs (Siccacell) into patients and shows that there is no scientific evidence that this therapy has in any way been beneficial to children with Down's syndrome. More important, the injection of animal cells into human patients can be dangerous and even life-threatening because of actual and potential allergic and immunological reactions. It is hoped that this report will make physicians aware of the true facts about cell-therapy in the treatment of Down's syndrome, and discourage them and others from practising this form of therapy or from referring patients and parents to 'cell therapists' for the useless and potentially dangerous Siccacell treatment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)211-226
Number of pages16
JournalPediatric Reviews and Communications
Issue number3
StatePublished - 1 Jan 1989
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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