Doctor 'exploited vulnerable MS patients'

A doctor who exploited a group of "vulnerable" multiple sclerosis patients used stem cells that were not designed for human use, a fitness to practise panel found.

Nine men and women, most of whom were suffering from "incurable conditions", visited Dr Robert Trossel, "desperate" to find some relief for their disease and prepared to raise large sums of money to fund their therapy.

But the General Medical Council panel found Dr Trossel, 55, exaggerated the benefits of treatment which was based on "anecdotal and aspirational information" and "scientific research that had been carried out only on animals".

The Dutch-trained doctor also lacked the necessary knowledge to embark on the therapy, the panel said, while overstating his success rate at treating people with multiple sclerosis - a disabling neurological disease.

"The panel is satisfied that there was neither sufficient scientific nor clinical medical evidence upon which to proceed with the stem cell therapy," it said in a report into the findings of facts.

"Further, Dr Trossel did not have the necessary neurological or scientific expertise upon which to proceed with such therapy," the panel concluded.

And it said Dr Trossel "was not in a position" to supply adequate information to ensure patients could give informed consent to treatment.

He also failed to respect the rights of the patients to be fully involved in decisions about their care when they visited him in his clinic in Rotterdam, it said.

At an earlier hearing, Dr Trossel said he only discovered a batch of vials sent to him in 2006 by Advanced Cell Therapeutics (ACT) were not designed for human use when he took part in a BBC Newsnight programme.

A sticker providing information about where the vials came from was later brought to his attention.

Dr Trossel said he looked into California-based All Cells - named on the sticker - and found a disclaimer stating it only produced materials for laboratory use.

He contacted All Cells and failed to get confirmation the cells could be used on humans, telling the hearing: "We couldn't get the confirmation so we immediately stopped all treatments with ACT patients".

The doctor said he was told the consignment had been sent in error and was provided by All Cells for research.

From that point, he said patients were only treated with cells bought from a supplier in Pakistan which provided necessary certification for human use.

Besides his Preventief Medisch Centrum clinic in Rotterdam, Dr Trossel had consulting rooms in New Cavendish Street and Wimpole Street, London.

In October 2006, he was ordered by the Dutch authorities to cease stem cell treatment, the GMC heard.

ACT's bosses, Laura Brown and Steve van Rooyen, underwent investigation by US authorities and were facing extradition proceedings from South Africa, the panel heard.

The nine patients involved in the case against Dr Trossel are James McCorrisken, Malcolm Pear, Stephen Murphy, Anita Knowles, Rebecca Parker, Catherine Neal, Tracy Wagstaff, Karen Galley and Deborah Sandford.

Dr Trossel denied a series of charges relating to the patients including acting in a way that was inappropriate and exploitative of vulnerable patients.

In a tenth case, Dr Trossel denied making false and misleading statements to investigative journalist Barney Calman, who visited his private clinic in London claiming to have Hodgkin's disease in 2006.

Tom Kark, counsel for the GMC, previously said that in the majority of cases, the treatment administered by Dr Trossel had "no effect" and there was "no evidence" the substance injected contained stem cells.

The panel also heard that the Saudi Arabia-born doctor's fitness to practise was impaired because of a conviction in Antwerp in February last year over stem cell treatment offences under Belgian law.

He received a police caution in 2007 for failing to pay a car park charge at Stansted airport, the panel was told.

It will resume consideration of Dr Trossel's case on September 6 when it will hear submissions as to whether his fitness to practise is impaired.

Life and Style
ebookNow available in paperback
Life and Style
ebooksA superb mix of recipes serving up the freshest of local produce in a delicious range of styles
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs General

    Recruitment Genius: Business Support Administrator - Part Time

    Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join the South West'...

    Recruitment Genius: Business Development Executive - OTE £40,000

    £25000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: An expanding business based in ...

    Recruitment Genius: Field Sales - Business Broker - Scotland

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As an award winning and leading...

    Recruitment Genius: Field Sales - Business Broker - North East Region

    £35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: As an award winning and leading...

    Day In a Page

    Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

    Homeless Veterans appeal

    In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
    Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

    Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

    As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
    The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

    The Interview movie review

    You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
    Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

    How podcasts became mainstream

    People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

    Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

    Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
    Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

    A memorable year for science – if not for mice

    The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
    Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

    Christmas cocktails to make you merry

    Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
    5 best activity trackers

    Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

    Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
    Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

    Paul Scholes column

    It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

    Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
    Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

    Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

    2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

    Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

    Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

    Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

    The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
    Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

    Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

    The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
    Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

    The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

    Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas