September 29, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

The ultimate antidote to stem cell tourism in the U.S.

For a long time many of us in the stem cell field have been worried about dubious stem cell treatments, so-called ‘stem cell tourism’. 

How do we stop it or at least fight back to keep people safe and help them avoid losing what is often their life savings?

Many activities related to stem cell tourism occur right here in the U.S. and almost entirely or entirely involve adult stem cells. Interestingly it is often the folks who are most opposed to embryonic stem cell research who promote expensive, untested and potentially dangerous adult stem cell research therapies. While they oppose embryonic stem cell research claiming it involves the lose of a “life” in the form of a few cell embryo, the adult stem cell research they push will inevitably kill an actual living, breathing person.

stem cell tourism tumor
A patient who engaged in stem cell tourism developed a dangerous spinal tumor, show in an MRI.

The International Society for Stem Cell Research (ISSCR), of which I am a member, had at one point launched a web portal through which anyone (patients, scientists, families, advocates, etc) would report their concerns about specific companies offering dubious stem cell treatments.

However, in the past year ISSCR shuttered this effort under the threat of litigation by the stem cell clinics that were offering the dubious stem cell treatments.

As a result many folks have lamented that the potential scourge of dangerous, non-vetted stem cell treatments might spread unchecked through the land.

What’s the solution?

With the steady stream of indictments and arrests by the FBI for stem cell-related charges in the U.S., it is clear that the federals government is taking a much more aggressive approach to the dangerous of stem cell tourism within the U.S.

As a result, I see a straightforward antidote to stem cell hucksters in the U.S. at least.

The solution–if you believe someone is breaking the law using stem cells, I encourage you to contact the FBI and tell them your concerns. 

You may do so by going to this FBI tip site.

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