November 30, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

Portrait of an alleged stem cell fraud: my thoughts on 60 Minutes episode

60 Minutes segment on stem cell fraud.
60 Minutes segment on stem cell fraud. Screen shot of video.

Last night 60 Minutes broadcasted ( you can watch the episode here) a long awaited 2nd segment in their continuing investigation of stem cell fraud. The first segment investigating phony doctors Stowe and Morales led to their ultimate pursuit by the FBI and indictment, aired in a couple years ago.

The new episode on stem cells reported by Scott Pelley was highly unusual in that it included a sting style portion of a surprise hidden camera interview ( you can learn more about the hidden camera aspect and the remarkable setup that went into the surprise interview here in this fascinating video clip from CBS) with alleged stem cell fraud, Dr. Dan Ecklund, whose medical license was suspended a half dozen years ago.

I was honored to have in some small way helped the producers of 60 Minutes with their investigation into stem cell fraud more generally. Note that I do not have any knowledge of whether Dr. Ecklund is innocent or guilty of the charges made in the 60 Minutes broadcast.

There was also a followup segment on CBS This Morning that was interesting.

The Susser family who worked with 60 Minutes on the investigation are heroes in my opinion.

When CBS reporter Scott Pelley surprised Dr. Dan Ecklund it was dramatic. Ecklund was stunned and who wouldn’t be to have 60 Minutes surprise you like that. ALso, I was very surprised to see that he actually did an interview with Pelley, who thought that Ecklund would simply leave.

When CBS had Duke University analyze an alleged stem cell sample from Ecklund, Duke indicated that it mostly consisted of dead cells and debris, which could be very dangerous to a patient and certainly could do no good.

Patients and families out there reading this–please take extreme caution when considering a non-FDA approved stem cell treatment. Talk to your own personal physician and get multiple opinions. Do your research. Ask to see data.

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