Lily Wythe is a teenaged girl with a deadly brainstem cancer whose case has made international news because of her family’s crowdfunding to get her into a clinical trial. Should investigators be allowed to fund trials this way?
GoFundMe is frequently used by patients to pay for quackery. How can its policies be changed to make misuse of the platform more difficult?
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.
A new study by Jeremy Snyder and Tim Caulfield shows how much money is raised by GoFundMe and other crowdfunding sources to support quackery. It’s a lot of money, which is unsurprising to Orac, given that he’s been writing about how crowdfunding is “baked into” the business model of cancer quacks since he discovered Stanislaw Burzynski a decade ago.
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.