Exposure of ugly “stem cell tourism” is continuing. The recent journalist’s investigation of “stem cell tourism” was aired on Global News TV (Canada).
I was stunned by personal story of stem cell” fraud victim Jerry Nischuk. In interview he said (min 12-13): “Mexican nurse walked down from upstairs with a little vial. God knows what was in that vial…”
This is exactly the point that I was making lately – if we don’t know what was injected, we can’t call it “stem cells”:
The public believes that if “clinic X” advertises “stem cell therapies”, it’s really stem cell therapy. The reality is that the vast majority of “stem cell therapy” claims have no relevance whatsoever to real stem cells. The advertisers use patient vulnerability and exploit the “stem cell label” for deceptive marketing. Unfortunately, many medical professionals widely have adopted the same lexicon.
So, what could be in that vial? Any opinions? Let me propose:
- stem cells
- any cells
- dead cells (debris)
- saline solution
You can think of any option guys, but I’d vote for water! Water is the elixir of life! Why not? Saline is more expensive. Taking in account that many patients describe “chills” during and after the injection (aka “cells are starting to work immediately”!), junk is also the possibility.
Well, we know some cases when water was sold under “potentially powerful drug” label to the victims (desperate patients). For example, before get into the “stem cell business”, Dr. Morales sold the water:
He got on the wrong end of a class action suit, when he worked with Immunosyn (a biotech company that now appears to be out of business following SEC and other complaints) to defraud a multiple sclerosis patient by selling her vials that they claimed contained the experimental drug SF-109, but which actually contained the somewhat more ordinary molecule, H2O.
Now, we can sell water under “stem cell” label. And if you will be lucky enough, you can get an “autologous water” – derived from your own fat. Chills-free.
I was wondering what if patients can request or buy a vial from “stem cell clinic” and send it for independent analysis? I was happy to learn that it was done during “60 Minutes” investigation. They purchased a vial via PayPal (as simple as that!) and send it to Duke University for expertise. Duke’s experts said that instead of cord blood cells they were able to detect a “cord blood junk”! You can watch it here (min 6:40 – 8:20). Well, I guess in this case more money and more chills are guaranteed!
I was also happy to learn that stem cell researchers actually offer a free expertise for the vials, provided by “stem cell clinics”. For example, Jeanne Loring said:
If you’re really look into cells that have been offered by those overseas clinics, you can find that they could be virtually anything!
I’m asking you, if you will ask the clinic to collect the sample of the stem cells they intend to use, you can freeze it and send it to me, I’ll analyzed for free and I’ll tell you what these stem cells are.
I’d like to join this initiative! I can’t resist my natural curiosity! I love vials, especially from cryo shippers!
We have no idea what is injected into the patients in so-called “stem cell clinics” for money. Therefore, we can not use terms “stem cell treatment” or “stem cell therapy” outside of regulated clinical trials or authorized market approvals. Only in trials regulated by law, we can be sure about quality of cell product and audit it any time. Only trials can give us an answer “Do stem cells really work?”. Now, can you imagine how much “unproved stem cell treatments” distorts the reality? Can you imagine how much it could discredit the whole field of stem cell research?
I’d finish, by a quote of Doug Sipp from his recent interview:
Having studied this industry intensively for several years now, it is my considered opinion that the claims of any company or group that sells or otherwise promotes such putative “stem cell” products or services should be greeted with the deepest possible skepticism.
PS: I’ve been sarcastic today, but i hope you get my drift.