August 3, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

Philippines Investigating 3 Politician Deaths Allegedly From Stem Cells in Germany

The Philippines Medical Association (PMA) is reportedly (article from ABS-CBN News) investigating the recent deaths of 3 prominent politicians due to stem cell therapies via stem cell tourism in Germany at an as yet unidentified clinic.

The names of the politicians are unknown, but strangely enough today there’s another separate article on stem cells from the Philippine Daily Inquirer that mentions 3 politicians who have received stem cell treatments:

A number of politicians have been reported to have used stem cell therapy, including former President Joseph Estrada, Sen. Juan Ponce Enrile and former Sen. Ernesto Maceda.

Of course these men may not be the politicians referred to in the ABS-CBN piece. Maceda was quoted:

“I am now convinced that my stem cell therapy is effective and that’s the reason why I’ve been able to keep up with the rigorous campaign schedule,” he said. “I feel 20 years younger.”

In the past the German stem cell clinic X-cell was notorious for being linked to a baby’s death.

PMA president Dr. Leo Olarte commented on the more recent case:

“They were given stem cells from sheep, rabbits and animals. They died after one year, they had late hypersensitivity reaction,” he said.

It sounds like a very horrible situation. More information is needed to get the bottom of this.

The ABS-CBN Foundation, presumably the outfit responsible for ABS-CBN News that reported the 3 politician deaths, is an advocacy group of some kind in the Philippines that works with Olarte ( see him with Gina Lopez, Managing Director of ABS-CBN in the pic below).

Olarte stem cells in Philippines

Stem cells are generating a lot of buzz in the Philippines and apparently stem cell interventions of various kinds are becoming more common including a supposed aphrodisiac stem cell potion called Soup. No. 7. Thus, efforts to reign in dangerous stem cell interventions there are very important. At the same time some in the Philippines such as Olarte want to promote stem cell tourism as well it seems. It’s a fine line to walk

For example, in commenting to ABS-CBN News in the same article as about the German deaths, Olarte seems to be playing up the state of stem cell interventions in that country more generally:

Olarte said the country already has experts, who are members of the Philippine Society for Stem Cell Medicine (PSSCM), competent to perform the treatment in the Philippines.

“We have more or less 400 specialists,” he said, even noting that the stem cell treatment in the country is much cheaper by 50% than what is being sold abroad.

I’m not so convinced that even these supposedly okay stem cell “treatments” promoted by Olarte are proven safe or effective either even if they are cheaper.

The deaths of the three politicians in Germany are disturbing news and highlight the care that must be taken in regulating stem cell interventions to keep patients safe.

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