A Midland Multiple Sclerosis sufferer yesterday warned fellow patients against a UK-registered company which promised to treat him with "pioneering" stem cell treatment.

Malcolm Pear handed over £14,000 after reading testimonials on the Advanced Cell Therapeutics (ACT) website, which claims it can reduce the symptoms of a range of diseases from MS and Parkinson's to HIV.

Moments after undergoing the procedure in Europe, Malcolm Pear, 51, says he was able to walk unaided, despite having to previously rely on elbow crutches to move.

After returning to the UK, his wife Lesley spent hours on the phone promoting the treatment to hundreds of callers who inquired about its benefits.

But three months after stem cells from discarded umbilical cords were injected into his spine, the health of the former Bromsgrove chartered accountant deteriorated sharply.

The Pears then found it impossible to contact ACT and the only correspondence they received were emails offering expensive top-up treatments.

According to BBC reports, ACT was the brainchild of American Laura Brown and her South African boyfriend Steve Van Rooyan who also set up an American company called Biomark, offering unregulated stem cell treatment.

The pair, who have no medical training, fled America and are currently wanted by the FBI on 50 charges alleging "misrepresentations... about the effectiveness of the stem cell therapy they were offering".

Mrs Pear said: "I just feel so very sad. People were phoning me all day - some were talking about taking out second mortgages.

"I feel responsible for telling these people how wonderful Malcolm was. The improvements were absolutely incredible and I gave a lot of people a lot of hope.

"To think these people have gone ahead on the basis of my words is dreadful.

"It is totally shambolic, but everything was so great for about three months - it was everything you wanted and more."

Although ACT never promised to fully cure her husband, Mrs Pear said the company never checked on his progress after the treatment.

"We are very aware it was not a full cure but his walking has gone completely down hill. His bladder isn't as bad as before but his bowels have gone haywire."

Yesterday, in a open letter, a group of British scientists warned patients to be wary of "extravagant" treatment claims.

Signed by 14 medical charities and research funders, including Professor Colin Blakemore, chairman of the UK Stem Cell Funders Forum, the letter read: "In the case of these unorthodox 'stem-cell' treatments, the protocols and results have not been published or subject to independent review. Although scientists are making great strides in stem-cell science, there is no published evidence to support claims that stem cells can safely repair tissue damage caused by multiple sclerosis."

It is believed ACT is one of two companies mentioned in the letter as currently being under investigation in the Netherlands.

A spokesman for the Multiple Sclerosis Society said: "The Dutch authorities are currently carrying out an investigation into ACT. Another one of its clinics in Ireland was closed down by the Irish authorities.

"We are concerned that people are being asked to pay money for this treatment, which has not been trialed as yet.

"We have heard that for some people, it has been suggested to them that they should have a top-up and that means more money."

The Birmingham Post has tried to contact ACT on numerous occasions during the past month but has received no response.