The results of a joint investigation undertaken by The New Yorker and ProPublica that was published on May 7, 2019 entitled “The Birth-Tissue Profiteers” found that “alongside legitimate, scientifically proven treatments, an industry has sprung up in which specialized clinics offer miracle remedies from poorly understood stem-cell products … there were twelve such clinics advertising to consumers in 2009; in 2017, there were more than seven hundred. Unproven cellular therapies are a two-billion-dollar global business … [t]his burgeoning business is largely unregulated … amniotic-stem-cell treatments don’t undergo the clinical trials required for F.D.A. approval.”
“An investigation by ProPublica and The New Yorker found disgraced doctors who were recast as salespeople, manufacturers that cloaked themselves in pseudo-science and had few scientists on staff, and clinics that offer to treat conditions like multiple sclerosis or kidney disease without specialized training. Unscientific methods, deceptive marketing, price gouging, and disregard for patients’ well-being were rampant across the amniotic-stem-cell-therapy industry.”
The report stated “Because amniotic-stem-cell treatments don’t undergo the clinical trials required for F.D.A. approval, there’s little data or research on them. Their efficacy is highly questionable and, in one case where bacteria contaminated the supply, the lack of accountability in the industry has led to serious infections for a dozen patients.”
Amniotic-stem-cell products are made solely from tissues related to childbirth, not from embryonic cells. “Yet providers of amniotic-stem-cell treatments often attribute to their products all the powers of embryonic stem cells, minus the ethical issues associated with deriving cells from early-stage embryos.” As the the director of the Center for Regenerative Medicine at the Scripps Research Institute and the chief scientific officer at Aspen Neuroscience stated: “If a stem cell from one organ is put into another, like a placenta or umbilical-cord cell into a knee, it will die. It can’t become something else.”
A former Arizona orthopedic surgeon who had his Arizona medical license revoked in 2009 because his “misconduct demonstrates that he is unfit for licensure to practice medicine” still refers to himself as “Dr.” and now sells stem cells for purported medical treatments. The New Yorker stated that the former doctor “is prone to making outsized claims at presentations that misrepresent the efficacy of his stem cell treatments.” The former doctor reportedly provided The New Yorker and ProPublica with lab analyses of his stem cell products, both of which reportedly showed that only 42 percent (about 600,000) of the cells in the vials were alive, though he has previously stated that there are 10 million live cells in his products: “And those could be any cells, not just stem cells, since testing didn’t indicate whether they were stem cells or some other type of unhelpful cells.”
If you or a loved one may have suffered serious harm as a result of stem cell therapy in the United States, you should promptly find a medical malpractice attorney in your state who may investigate your stem cell malpractice claim for you and represent you or your loved one in a stem cell medical malpractice case, if appropriate.
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