Stem cells are the newest form of snake oil

Blueneck

Former Staff
Jun 2007
55,137
42,572
Ohio
#1
Greene said that amniotic stem cells derive their healing power from an ability to develop into any kind of tissue, but he failed to mention that mainstream science does not support his claims. He also did not disclose that he lost his license to practice medicine in 2009, after surgeries he botched resulted in several deaths. Instead, he offered glowing statistics: amniotic stem cells could help the heart beat better, “on average by twenty per cent,” he said. “Over eighty-five per cent of patients benefit exceptionally from the treatment.”

“Patients come back to the center saying, ‘I can walk farther, I can breathe easier, I can sleep better,’ ” he proclaimed. “It’s remarkable, the outcomes we’ve been seeing for the last few years.” In the second row, a slender woman in a striped jacket, who had hobbled into the meeting on a wooden cane, pumped her fists in the air. “Stem cells!” she cheered.

For more than half a century, the regenerative possibilities of stem cells—which the body stores to repair damaged tissue and organs and restore blood supply—have tantalized the medical community. Bone-marrow transplants for cancer patients, which rely on blood stem cells, fulfill this potential. But alongside legitimate, scientifically proven treatments, an industry has sprung up in which specialized clinics offer miracle remedies from poorly understood stem-cell products.

These clinics are multiplying in the United States. According to a tally by Leigh Turner, an associate professor of bioethics at the University of Minnesota, there were twelve such clinics advertising to consumers in 2009; in 2017, there were more than seven hundred.
What a racket. And it's barely regulated.

Nearly fifteen years ago, the F.D.A. established rules on the use of human tissue. If the tissue was “minimally manipulated” and used in the same way it originally functioned in the body, it didn’t need F.D.A. approval as a drug. However, if the cells were modified in a lab, or were given a new purpose—such as using placenta cells to treat a brain disease—they would be considered a drug, and would have to undergo F.D.A. review.

The problem is that the agency left it up to manufacturers to decide which group their products belonged to. Seeking F.D.A. approval entails running multiple human trials, which can cost hundreds of millions of dollars. There was no incentive for the stem-cell manufacturers to put their treatments through this process, so they took the position that their products didn’t count as drugs.

The F.D.A. rarely disagreed with their stance. From 2010 to 2017, the agency sent warning letters to only seven of the hundreds of companies that made or marketed stem-cell treatments, according to a tally of letters in the F.D.A. database. The agency said it could not confirm the exact number because it “does not maintain lists of actions by product.”

In the early twenty-tens, the agency decided it should issue stricter guidelines on the use of human tissue. But it wasn’t until November, 2017, that the guidelines were updated, clarifying that many tissue products, including amniotic stem cells, must be characterized as drugs. The F.D.A. gave the clinics another three years—until 2020—to comply. (In the meantime, the agency continues to send warning letters to more companies.)

Gottlieb, the former F.D.A. commissioner, said he is disappointed that, during this interim period, few firms have submitted their products to the F.D.A. for approval as drugs. “There are literally hundreds of clinics, and some of them are engaging in very risky actions,” he said. “They’re crossing the line.”
It's a long article, but worth it. I had no idea this was a thing. Sounds like a damn South Park episode. :eek:

The Birth-Tissue Profiteers
 
Mar 2012
57,898
39,449
New Hampshire
#2
What a racket. And it's barely regulated.



It's a long article, but worth it. I had no idea this was a thing. Sounds like a damn South Park episode. :eek:

The Birth-Tissue Profiteers
What a scam!! Its like the proverbial "fountain of youth" thing where people will spend money on anything. But several things came to my mind, first is this covered by Medicare? If so, taxpayers shouldnt be paying for this. Second, these people appear to have money and I am sure they are on Medicare. Why wouldnt they go to a legit doctor if they are in pain?? Its just nuts. But there was another thing like this I saw with young women and saving their eggs. Could be another scam. I guess its just easy to separate people and their money.

Egg freezing ‘startups’ have Wall Street talking — and traditional fertility doctors worried
 

Ian Jeffrey

Council Hall
Mar 2013
76,623
45,848
Vulcan, down the street from Darth Vader
#3
The same people think marijuana is a wonder-drug that can cure almost anything (I know one such - ironically, also an anti-vaxxer) ... someone is always willing to believe in the magical properties of something or other.
 

Blueneck

Former Staff
Jun 2007
55,137
42,572
Ohio
#4
What a scam!! Its like the proverbial "fountain of youth" thing where people will spend money on anything. But several things came to my mind, first is this covered by Medicare? If so, taxpayers shouldnt be paying for this. Second, these people appear to have money and I am sure they are on Medicare. Why wouldnt they go to a legit doctor if they are in pain?? Its just nuts. But there was another thing like this I saw with young women and saving their eggs. Could be another scam. I guess its just easy to separate people and their money.

Egg freezing ‘startups’ have Wall Street talking — and traditional fertility doctors worried
I suspect it's not covered by any kind of insurance, and the fact in can be administered by almost anyone is alarming. Apparently, if the stem cells aren't manipulated in any way, it's not considered a drug and therefore the regulation is minimal. But if you look at it as having someone else's tissue injected into your body, that alone would freak me out. People are getting all sorts of infection and even sepsis from these "treatments". Gross.

I hadn't heard of the egg thing. I'll have to read about it after I go to the doctor. But I'll say this right off the bat, I'm at a loss as whether to be pissed at the victims for being so gullible or the maggots that take advantage of that vulnerability. You would think we'd be smarter now, especially since the internet, but we seem to be going the other direction.
 
Likes: bajisima

Ian Jeffrey

Council Hall
Mar 2013
76,623
45,848
Vulcan, down the street from Darth Vader
#5
I'm at a loss as whether to be pissed at the victims for being so gullible or the maggots that take advantage of that vulnerability.
People will believe, and/or are willing to believe, almost anything, especially a "new wonder drug" type of information. And there will always be "maggots" willing to take that advantage. My ire is reserved for the latter; the former has only my pity for their willing suspension of disbelief.
You would think we'd be smarter now, especially since the internet, but we seem to be going the other direction.
Increases in available information means bad information as well as good. People tend not to be too discriminating when they see something that fits their preferred (if not actual) preconceptions.
 
Likes: Blueneck
Mar 2012
57,898
39,449
New Hampshire
#6
People will believe, and/or are willing to believe, almost anything, especially a "new wonder drug" type of information. And there will always be "maggots" willing to take that advantage. My ire is reserved for the latter; the former has only my pity for their willing suspension of disbelief.

Increases in available information means bad information as well as good. People tend not to be too discriminating when they see something that fits their preferred (if not actual) preconceptions.
Yes look at the anti vax movement. Its almost entirely due to the internet.
 
Jun 2014
49,435
50,326
United States
#7
We've had clinics in my area for some time now promising stem cell joint repair, but I heard an ad on the radio yesterday for a hair loss clinic promoting stem cell treatment for baldness.

They'd probably be better off using Ronco spray paint. ;)
 

johnflesh

Former Staff
Feb 2007
27,244
19,959
.
#8
The same people think marijuana is a wonder-drug that can cure almost anything (I know one such - ironically, also an anti-vaxxer) ... someone is always willing to believe in the magical properties of something or other.
Luckily those people are rare. Anyone who smokes pot enough knows it's just helpful, not a cure for anything.

Like Aspirin is no cure for anything.
 

Blueneck

Former Staff
Jun 2007
55,137
42,572
Ohio
#9
People will believe, and/or are willing to believe, almost anything, especially a "new wonder drug" type of information. And there will always be "maggots" willing to take that advantage. My ire is reserved for the latter; the former has only my pity for their willing suspension of disbelief.

Increases in available information means bad information as well as good. People tend not to be too discriminating when they see something that fits their preferred (if not actual) preconceptions.
The thing about most trendy "miracle" cures is they are usually ineffective but harmless. People getting these stem cell injections are getting infections and even sepsis from it. Plus you have to wonder if they're foregoing a treatment that actually works in lieu of this.
 

Blueneck

Former Staff
Jun 2007
55,137
42,572
Ohio
#10

Similar Discussions