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]

Review contrasts veterinary drugs and homeopathic “alternatives” – Consumer Health Digest

Interesting story on Homeopathy.  There is no science behind homeopathy and this review of it by a noted association, gets to the core of the issue.

The British Veterinary Association’s journal has published two articles that place homeopathy in historical and scientific perspective. Although the articles concern veterinary practices, their conclusions are equally relevant to human drugs. The first article notes that, “For many drugs the mechanism of action is proven, and for most drugs without proven mechanisms of action, scientifically plausible mechanisms exist.” [Lees P and others. Comparison of veterinary drugs and veterinary homeopathy: Part 1. Veterinary Record, Aug 12, 2017] In contrast, the second article notes that “Homeopathy . . . is top down and faith-based; governed by arbitrary laws, invented by the founder, Hahnemann, which are immutable. As such, homeopathy is not just unscientific, it is a genuinely mystical belief system.” [Lees P and others. Comparison of veterinary drugs and veterinary homeopathy: Part 2. Veterinary Record, Aug 19/26, 2017]


Tainted Products Marketed as Dietary Supplements_CDER FDA

A fascinating website that I was not aware of, in which the FDA lists the products that they have tested to have been shown to be tainted with chemicals that are not listed on the package label. If you were taking supplements or other Internet advertised products, you may want to look them up on this list to make sure they’re not listed here.

Adulteration by synthetic therapeutic substances of traditional Chinese medicines in Taiwan. – PubMed – NCBI

“The controversies regarding the combination of synthetic therapeutic substances and traditional Chinese medicines without adequate labeling should be resolved through regulatory actions for better safety of drug use.”

Adulteration of proprietary Chinese medicines and health products with undeclared drugs: experience of a tertiary toxicology laboratory in Hong Kong – Ching – 2017 – British Journal of Clinical Pharmacology – Wiley Online Library

Proprietary Chinese medicines (pCMs) and health products, generally believed to be natural and safe, are gaining popularity worldwide. However, the safety of pCMs and health products has been severely compromised by the practice of adulteration. The current study aimed to examine the problem of adulteration of pCMs and health products in Hong Kong.

NYTimes: In Hong Kong, Folk Remedies Are Sickening Patients

The rise of use of Chinese traditional remedies has been going on for sometime here on the West Coast in particular. My late wife tried many substances in a vain attempt to save her life. It always made me wonder as to who was overseeing the possible abuse of these remedies, and many of them are available on the Internet with no regulation at all.

Concern over new ad in Port Townsend Leader

A suspicious advertisement caught my eye this week. I noticed on page C9 of the Port Townsend Leader an ad that read:

DON’T DIE FROM CANCER! (yes, all in Caps). Ask us about our breakthrough results. 

My late wife died here in town in 2005 after a long battle with cancer. I followed her on a journey through the world of fraudulent cancer treatments which included a trip to a Mexican “Stem Cell” clinic, and many other obvious frauds.  We spent tens of thousands of dollars chasing supposed cures for her terminal cancer. I wrote a book on it called The Good Bits, which is about to be published late this year or early next.

My concerns were raised seeing this ad. There are many companies on the Internet selling cures for cancers. The FDA has no good way to regulate these advertisers as many are published outside the US.  There is rarely any peer reviewed documentation in the advertising to read that would give an individual any sense of real science being done on the work.  So I did some investigating. Here’s what I found.

The organization promoting this cure is called the Berkeley Institute International. The ‘medical director’ of the ‘cure’ that they are promoting is  Dr. Kenneth Matsumura, who they claim is the “Medical Director, ALIN Foundation,Berkeley, CA USA”

Dr. Matsumura is a world-renowned scientist. He developed the HeartAlarm® Wristwatch that gives advanced warning against heart attacks, invented the bio-artificial liver, and invented the artificial pancreas which in collaboration with Johnson & Johnson, NASA invited onto the Space Shuttle. His bio-artificial liver has been acclaimed for being one of the Top 10 Most Important Inventions of the 21st Century in Medicine and Science, ranking his bio-artificial liver with YouTube® and iPaD®. His bio-artificial liver was honored by TIME magazine as an Invention of the Year in 2001.

In searching on Google there is only one news story about Dr. Matsumura, which is from the New York Times on Oct 9th, 2005. He apparently filed a recall petition against Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. There is no mention of his anti-cancer work, his supposed work with NASA or Johnson and Johnson.  There are no news articles about a HeartAlarm or bio-artificial liver. The one link on Google to the Time story appeared dead. It did not resolve to a web page. Here is the only article I could find.
Also in the advertising it mentions that Dr. Matsumura is part of a non profit organization called the Alin Foundation, which is behind this clinic. Guidestar shows that they have not filed appropriate forms with the IRS. Guidestar says”
“This organization’s exempt status was automatically revoked by the IRS for failure to file a Form 990, 990-EZ, 990-N, or 990-PF for 3 consecutive years. Further investigation and due diligence are warranted.”
“This organization has not appeared on the IRS Business Master File in a number of months. It may have merged with another organization or ceased operations.”
Their NTEE code is listed as

“Religion Related, Spiritual Development N.E.C. (X99)”  Note that they are not setup as a medical non profit! 

They are advertising:

“8-Week SEF Chemotherapy® to Take Place of 6-9 Month “Adjuvant” Chemo-radiotherapy”

Their “Enrollment Criteria” includes:

Our therapy is now accepting patients with stage II-early stage IV non-small cell lung, breast, and pancreatic cancers.  We are accepting other cancers on a case-by-case basis.

• Patient must be 21 years or older
• Patient with histopathologically confirmed metastatic breast, pancreatic, or non-small cell lung cancer in stages II-early stage IV.
• Patients must have a life expectancy of over 12 weeks.
• Patient must have a neoplastic lesion definable by diagnostic means, or be capable of providing objective means of measurement of disease progression.
• Patient must have a peripheral white cell count of at least 2400 cells per cubic millimeter of blood and neutrophil count of at least 2000 cells per cubic millimeter.
• Patient must have a platelet count of at least 100,000 per cubic millimeter of blood.
• Patient must have adequate renal and hepatic function.
• Patient must not have had a prior anticancer therapy within 3 weeks, nor any ongoing toxicity associated with prior anticancer therapy.
• Patient must not have concurrent anti-hormonal or corticosteroids therapy.
• Patient must not have significant pleural effusion.
Previous Results

In April 2010, Dr. Matsumura and his colleagues at the ALIN Foundation announced an historic achievement: all cancer patients treated with the SEF Chemo® in 2006 not only went into remission, but remained cancer-free without the toxic side effects normally associated with chemotherapy.
(my highlighting. There is no peer-reviewed data to support this claim)
The results on patients undergoing SEF Chemo® are nothing short of stunning.
(Again, no data to corroborate this marketing statement).
One oncologist, who regularly refers patients to us, remarked that he knows of no other place in the world where achievements such as ours are being accomplished.

Results are still early, (but they have been doing this since 2006)  but we are getting response on virtually every patient we treat, as compared to the 20-30% response rates of conventional chemotherapy on the types of cancers we are treating.  If we begin treatment while the volume of cancer cells in a patient is still limited (as opposed to advanced late stage IV), we are achieving clinical remissions consistently.  By clinical remission we mean that when we use imaging studies with x-rays, MRIs, or ultrasound we cannot find any trace of cancer.

Dr. Matsumura recently announced an 8-week SEF Chemo® treatment that is an alternative to conventional adjuvant chemo-radiotherapy. After this announcement, many early-stage breast cancer patients, who have refused conventional therapies, approached our clinics.  We recently treated a nurse with stage I breast cancer with SEF Chemo® because she did not like what she read about either the radiotherapy or chemotherapy for her situation.  She underwent 8-cycles of our therapy with no side effects and kept all her hair.

Even with patients who respond quickly, it is our practice that patients undergo a minimum of 8 cycles of therapy to reduce the possibility of reocurrence.

Furthermore, lung cancer patients with today’s conventional chemotherapy eventually succumb within a year.  In an effort to explore the broad spectrum of efficacy of SEF Chemo®, the treatment of more and more types of cancer have been undertaken.   SEF Chemo® has also been proven successful with non-small cell lung, pancreatic, colon, bladder, liver, cervical, and prostate cancers, which comprise substantially most of the cancers that plague human kind today. SEF Chemo® continues to deliver stunning results.

This new therapy appears to be consistently reliable and far superior to today’s conventional treatments.  Only time will tell if our long-term remissions will turn into cures.”
All these marketing claims are offered with no peer reviewed scientific data.  It is impossible to find any background on this cure that is scientifically validated. A Google search for SEF Chemo did not return any results under “news” which is where any article done by a reputable news organization would have published scientific data on it.

It can only be concluded that if you feel it necessary to investigate this clinic’s treatments, you go about it with a good deal of skepticism. They don’t discuss prices that they charge, and that would be the first thing I would be asking them. I will be forwarding this information onto the State Attorney General asking him to look into this company’s advertising claims.