October 19, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

From boobs to baldness 2.0: Cosmetic stem cell clinics proliferate

Suzanne Somers, stem cells for boobs
Suzanne Somers, who self-reported receiving a stem cell-related breast procedure.

A month ago I did a very widely read piece on cosmetic applications of stem cell technologies in the U.S. called “from boobs to baldness”. Many cosmetics websites asked for permission to run the piece and it was re-run in a number of languages around the world as well.

It is clear there is big interest in stem cell cosmetics. There is big money to made. I would venture to say it is in the billions with a “b”.

In just a month even more stem cell-based cosmetic clinics have come up on the radar screen.

For example, the California Stem Cell Treatment Center was brought to my attention. It was founded in 2010. You can read their mission statement here.

Their key phrase in the mission is “we provide care for people suffering from diseases that may be alleviated by access to adult stem cell based regenerative treatment.

OK, now keeping that stated goal in mind, then read this warning page on their website (underline emphasis is mine):

California Stem Cell treatment center is not offering stem cell therapy as a cure for any condition, disease, or injury. No statements or treatments on this website have been evaluated or approved by the FDA….CSCTC does not claim that any applications, or potential applications, using these autologous stem cell treatments are approved by the FDA, or are even effective. We do not claim that these treatments work for any listed nor unlisted condition, intended or implied. It’s important for potential patients to do their own research based on the options that we present so that one can make an informed decision. Any decision to participate in our patient funded experimental protocols is completely voluntary.

ATTENTION: If you have ANY concern with our autologous stem cell treatment product, methods, website, or technique and think we may be violating any U.S. law, please contact us so that we can investigate the matter or concern immediately.

The cost is not specified, but if other clinics are any guide, most like we can estimate that the costs are in the 10s of thousands.

Here is a list of conditions that this clinic is currently treating, which is surprisingly diverse.

Stem cells have great theoretical potential for many purposes including cosmetics and breast reconstruction as of the type that Ms. Somers received after treatment for cancer, but I personally would not feel comfortable receiving a still experimental treatment that lacked approval by the FDA and which did not have extensive published data supporting it. Of course being ill may make a higher degree of risk more palatable, but I encourage patients considering cosmetic stem cell procedures to talk with their primary care provider first.

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