Is this a “good” stem cell blog post to write as I gobble down my lunch in between working on grants….hmm, maybe not. Too late!
Stem cells are hot all around the globe, but they are particularly scorching hot in certain countries such as the Philippines.
There are an increasing number of news articles on stem cells and stem cell treatments out of news sources from the Philippines.
My white paper on stem cells for my Stem Cell Outreach Program for Education (SCOPE) in Tagalog (the official language of the Philippines) is generating relatively a lot of interest from there. Overall this blog gets 120 visits per week from the Philippines, up dramatically just since last year, which was higher than the year before.
In the Philippines, adult stem cell treatments are the rage.
I had a lady in an elevator here in the US said the following to me:
“Hey, aren’t you that stem cell guy?” (which was odd enough for me to be recognized that way)
“I’m so excited about stem cells. They are really big in the Philippines, where I am from. You get a dozen injections of sheep stem cells throughout your body and then you literally are younger. Literally! Keep up the good work!”
Before I could say a word, she was gone, and I was left shaking my head. Uh, no, I neither work on nor advocate the clinical use of sheep stem cells.
I’m sure there is great, legitimate stem cell research including clinical research in the Philippines and I have deep respect for the country and all Filipinos, but it seems that dubious stem cell treatments are as big a problem there as they are in the US and other places.
For example, we have the case of so-called Soup No. 7.
What is Soup No. 7?
In the Philippines there are various remedies for health that are called “soups” colloquially.
For example, there is Soup No. 5 made of Bull testicles that is supposed to be an aphrodisiac. See image above form the urbanroamer.
Now there is Soup No. 7.
I was unable to find a recipe, but it is a stem cell potion of sorts that Filipinos are strongly recommended against taking by doctors (as per this recent news item):
Leo Olarte, vice president and spokesman for the Philippine Medical Association (PMA), said bogus stem cell products now proliferate.
“Products like soup number 7, which allegedly contain stem cells that can boost sexual appetite, are now being sold, but all these are fake and fraudulent,” he said.
What the heck does stem cell soup have to do with sex? Not sure.
Not only are these soups unlikely to help anyone, but they could also be harmful. The article goes on to say:
Christian Emmanuel Mancao, of the Philippine Society for Stem Cell Medicine (PSSCM), said stem cells could not be turned into powder and put in vials because the body needs it alive in order to multiply and replace dead cells.
He said the stem cells must be injected into the body for it to be effective, and consumers must also ensure they use only products approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
The PSSCM had a conference just last month on stem cells. I wonder how it went. I hope the tone was to promote safety and efficacy.
Stem cells are likely to only increase in hype around the world including both in the US and the Philippines. If you are a regular reader of this blog you know that I believe the US has its own big problems with bogus stem cell treatments so I am by no means singling out the Philippines.
I am advocate for education and patient safety across the globe. Stem cell soup is something you should definitely pass on. Have something delicious instead from the amazing offerings of Filipino cooking such as lechón.