A fairly frequent topic on Science-Based Medicine is the issue of for-profit stem cell clinics selling unsupported stem cell-based treatments with little or no evidence to support them for huge amounts of money. I make no bones about it. In my estimation, every for-profit stem cell clinic is a quack clinic bilking patients with promises of the magical things they claim stem cells can do. Every. Single. One I’ve searched and searched, and I have yet to find a for-profit stem cell clinic that provides only science- and evidence-based treatments for a reasonable cost. I hope that one day I …
A week ago, William Shatner Tweeted that he had received an anti-aging stem cell therapy. Perusal of the website of the clinic where he got the cells reveals yet another for-profit dubious stem cell clinic. Is William Shatner the new stem cell clinic pitchman?
Katie Britton-Jordan was a young woman with a treatable breast cancer. Instead of science-based medical care, she embarked on a vegan diet and a cornucopia of quackery. Now she is dead, because these treatments don't work.
For-profit stem cell clinics selling unproven and downright quacky stem cell therapies have proliferated over the last several years, with federal and state law seemingly powerless to stop them. Recently, the FDA and FTC have shown signs of acting to crack down on them. Now, the Medical Board of California is forming a task force to determine how to regulate physicians offering these unproven therapies. Will it matter?
Suzanne Somers is back in the news, claiming that she "grew a new breast" with stem cells and fat transfer. But did she? Did she really? A careful look at what's public about her story suggests nothing other than a bit of self-promotion during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
Last Sunday, 60 MINUTES Australia broadcast a story about a very sympathetic girl with cerebral palsy and her family, who traveled to Bioss Stem Cells, a stem cell clinic in Monterrey, Mexico, for unproven "stem cell" treatments. The story was nearly completely devoid of skepticism and played, in essence, as a 20 minute advertisement for quacks. It is one of the worst examples of boosterism and false balance about unproven treatments I've ever seen.
My NECSS talk isn't done and something's got to give. So that means blogging will be sparse this week. Sorry about that.
Right-to-try is now the law of the land. Unfortunately, it's a law custom-made for the unethical who don't mind taking advantage of the terminally ill.
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.
Last year, the FDA announced a regulatory framework for stem cell clinics, and hopes were raised that it would finally crack down on the hundreds of quack stem cell clinics in the US. Yesterday, the FDA dropped the hammer on two clinics, seeking injunctions in federal court to stop them. Is this the beginning of a real (and long overdue) crackdown on these clinics?