Stem cell treatment advertising by “CAM” practitioners analyzed – Consumer Health Digest

Having been in the room with my late wife at a fake stem cell facility in Mexico, I highly suggest you take this information into consideration before considering doing this therapy in this way. Feel free to contact me for more information on what we experienced.

An investigation of 368 Web sites found through Google with search terms combining stem cell with various buzzwords and practitioner names associated with “complementary and alternative medicine” has revealed:

  • 243 sites marketed stem cell therapies and 116 marketed other interventions where stem cells were mentioned in the description of the treatment or its effects. The other interventions included platelet-rich plasma injections (88), prolotherapy (19) and others (9).
  • The cells used for transplantation were said to be derived from adipose (fatty) tissue (112 sites), bone marrow (100 sites), blood (28 sites), umbilical cord (26 sites), and other sources [e.g., placenta, amniotic sac, amniotic fluid, embryonic stem cells] (35 sites).
  • 20 sites advertised plant cell-based treatments and products (e.g., skin creams).
  • The most common advertised treatment targets were: bone, joint, and muscle pain/injury (182 sites); diseases or maladies (82 sites); cosmetic concerns (52 sites); non-cosmetic aging (44 sites); and sexual enhancement (18 sites).
  • 80% of the sites were for clinics in the USA; the rest were located in 17 other countries.
  • The practitioner types mentioned on the 368 sites included medical doctors (161), naturopaths (63), chiropractors (61), acupuncturists (36), midwives (33), homeopaths (27) and massage therapists (13). Some sites mentioned more than one and some sites listed none.
  • Hyperbolic language was found on 32% of the sites.
  • Only 31% of the sites mentioned the regulatory status of the intervention, and only 33% noted that the therapy was unproven.
  • Only 19% of the sites stated there was limited evidence of efficacy of the intervention and 13% said there was evidence of inefficacy.
  • Only 25% of the sites mentioned general risks of the interventions.

The investigators concluded:

Many clinics seem to be engaging in scienceploitation, which can seriously obfuscate public discourse, mislead the public and make it difficult to discern real science from marketing claims that merely reference scientific sounding terminology. The marketing of unproven stem cell therapies has the potential to harm patients and to harm the reputation of stem cell science. It is incumbent on regulators and policymakers to take a proactive approach to managing the risks associated with the growing private market for stem cell-related interventions, and addressing misleading marketing practices is an important part of this strategy.

[Murdoch B and others. Exploiting science? A systematic analysis of complementary and alternative medicine clinic websites’ marketing of stem cell therapies. BMJ Open 8(2), March 2, 2018]

Deceptive claims barred for alleged cancer products – CHD

Worth noting if you or someone you love is chasing ‘alternative’ cures for cancer.

In response to a complaint for permanent injunction and other equitable relief by the Federal Trade Commission (FTC), Derek E. Vest, individually and as owner of CellMark Biopharma, LLC, has signed a stipulated order for permanent injunction that prohibits the company from making any representation for any dietary supplement, food, or drug of treating, curing, mitigating, or preventing any disease; symptom of cancer; and side effect, condition, or ailment resulting from cancer treatment. The FTC’s complaint alleged deceptive advertising of two CellMark products: (1) CellAssure, which was marketed as having “anti-cancer and anti-tumor properties” and as a medical breakthrough solution for cancer-related malnutrition; and (2) Cognify, which the company promoted for patients receiving chemotherapy as “the world’s first product designed specifically to alleviate…chemo fog.” [Marketers barred from making deceptive claims about products’ ability to mitigate side effects of cancer treatment: CellMark and its CEO lacked scientific evidence to back up their products’ claims. FTC news release, Jan 11, 2018]

New bogus “muscle testing” reported – Quackwatch

My late wife went through something like this test during her search for a cancer cure. It was the most absurd thing I saw during our journey through medical fraud.  In case anyone is wondering, this notion of kinesiology being able to determine internal organ health was debunked decades ago. Applied kinesiology is a method of testing that is virtually unregulated and has a large amount of ‘practioners’ who claim it can cure almost anything. To be clear, the basis of kinesiology is applicable to many fields such as sports medicine, etc. It’s about human movement. It’s has many legitimate sports medicine clinics that use it. The fraudsters are out there creating ‘machines’ and testing based on it to prey on the chronically ill. If you run into someone ‘practicing’ to try and heal cancer, or other internal diseases, run the other way.

Quackwatch has posted a report on the bi-digital O-ring test (BDORT), a variant of applied kinesiology that is claimed to provide information about internal organs by testing finger strength. To perform the test, the patient positions the thumb and another finger of one hand together to form a circle (“O-ring”) while his other hand holds a sample tissue of an internal organ. The practitioner then places his fingers into the circle and tries to pull the patient’s fingers apart. Proponents claim that whether or not the circle can be forced open reflects the health status of the patient’s organ that corresponds to the tissue sample. BDORT was developed in the early 1980s and patented in 1993 by Yoshiaki Omura, M.D., Sc.D., a physician/acupuncturist who worked in New York City during most of his professional career. BDORT is closely related to Quantum Reflex Analysis, which is also discussed in the report. [Barrett S. Some notes on the bi-digital O-ring test and Quantum Reflex Analysis. Quackwatch, Sept 10, 2017] The idea that muscle-testing can determine the status of the body’s organs or provide a basis for treating health problems is preposterous. Despite this, thousands of practitioners use such tests.

FDA says it will increase stem cell clinic regulation – FDA

This in from Quackwatch. As someone who’s late wife was the victim of a stem cell scam, I am thrilled to hear this news. This is a very real scam, both here and in the Mexican border to southwest of Yuma, which unfortunately won’t be within the reach of the FDA.

FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., has announced that the FDA “ ill be stepping up enforcement actions against clinics that abuse the trust of patients and, more important, endanger their health with unsanitary conditions or by purporting to have treatments which may not provide any benefit.” [FDA warns US Stem Cell Clinic of significant deviations. FDA news release, Aug 28, 2017] The agency also posted a warning letter issued to US Stem Cell Clinic of Sunrise, Florida and its Chief Scientific Officer, Kristin Comella, for marketing unapproved stem cell products without FDA approval and for significant deviations from current good manufacturing practice requirements, including some that could impact the sterility of their products. A recent FDA inspection found that the clinic was processing stem cells derived from body fat and administering the product both intravenously or directly into the spinal cord of patients to treat Parkinson’s disease, amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, heart disease, and pulmonary fibrosis. In a parallel action, at the FDA’s request, U.S. Marshals seized five vials of live vaccinia virus vaccine that had been used or were awaiting use to create an unapproved stem cell product for cancer patients. The FDA’s announcement noted that this vaccine is reserved only for people at high risk for smallpox (such as some members of the military) and has considerable potential for harm. [FDA acts to remove unproven, potentially harmful treatment used in ‘stem cell’ centers targeting vulnerable patients. FDA news release, Aug 28, 2017]