The BBC recounts the sad story of Gemma Nuttall, a 28-year-old mother with ovarian cancer, and her pursuit of false hope at Hallwang Clinic. It's a sad story that I've recounted far too many times over the years.
Annabelle Potts was a girl with the deadly brain cancer known as diffuse intrinsic pontine glioma (DIPG) whose family was victimized by quacks. Unfortunately, that's not how the media is reporting it. As is frequently the case, Annabelle's story is being presented as one of triumph, and the quacks who treated her as legitimate experimental therapy.
With the rise of quack stem cell clinics, there has been a rise of crowdfunding campaigns to assist patients in paying for expensive stem cell treatments of unproven efficacy. Unfortunately, as a recent study shows, these crowdfunding campaigns nearly always oversell efficacy and ignore potential risks of the treatments, while making powerful emotional appeals.
“Team aerobic” by Berner Kantonalturnfest 2010 (Utzenstorf, Bätterkinden, Kirchberg, Koppigen). Original uploader was Equilibrium suisse at de.wikipedia – Transferred from de.wikipedia; transferred to Commons by User:Boteas using CommonsHelper. (Original text: http://www.ktf2010.ch). Licensed under CC-BY-SA-3.0-de via Wikimedia Commons. Few people know better than I that times are tough in the world of biomedical research. It’s been eight or nine years since the “hard landing” that occurred after the near doubling of the NIH budget that occurred between FY1998 and FY2003, a crash that was exacerbated when the housing bubble burst in 2008, plunging much of the developed world into a steep …
Thanks to the number of people without medical insurance, desperate patients are holding fundraisers to pay for their medical care. Increasingly, they are also increasingly turning to the Internet to raise money through crowdfunding. Unfortunately, there is a dark side to crowdfunding. Patients are also turning to it to raise money to pay for quackery.