May 31, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

Some patients unhappy with stem cell clinics

stem cell shot clinic
Screen shot from CBS Chicago TV segment of syringe filled with “stem cells”

Over the years I’ve heard from quite a few patients of stem cell clinics who feel very strongly about their experiences. Some have quite positive views on getting stem cell interventions, while others feel very negatively about the stem cell clinics. I’ve heard more of the latter kind of experience.

People often tell me that the stem cells from clinics only worked briefly at best and were too expensive. Another complaint is that the clinic responds to patient disappointment often by suggesting additional, expensive shots of stem cells for the “full benefit”. There is also sometimes a sense that the clinic claims while recruiting patients or on the Internet didn’t match the patient’s own experience.

A new report by Pam Zekman at CBS Chicago reflects the polarized views out there. Some they talked to were positive, but others were unhappy.

For example take the case of Charisma Cardine, who has been blind for 13 years, which the report describes as, “the result of a rare central nervous system disease.” 

“They told us that it was a 90 to 95 percent success rate,” Cardine says. “They said they worked with one other patient besides her before and they gained their sight back within two weeks,” her sister, Christiana James, adds. But Cardine’s $9,000 treatment at the Miami Stem Cell Treatment Center did not restore her sight.”

A stem cell doctor from a different clinic quoted in the article, Dr. Daniel Ritacca of the Chicago Stem Cell Treatment Center, has a positive outlook on their clinic’s treatment of more than 4,000 patients. One of his patients, Bob Leonard who suffers from MS, believes his stem cell treatment helped him. The Chicago clinic is part of the stem cell clinic chain, Cell Surgical Network.

For another stem cell clinic patient, Robert Heller who suffers from lung disease, his experience at yet another stem cell clinic, The Lung Institute (also see A Look Inside a Stem Cell Clinic Informercial by Professor David Brafman), was reported as not so positive in the article:

Heller paid $6,500 for treatments but says his condition only got worse. “”They give you a lot of BS and wishful thinking and selling you on hopes. False hopes,” he says.”

Those are strong words.

The reporter Zekman participated in a Lung Institute webinar, where reportedly claims were made that “71 percent of their patients” had seen increases in lung function.

Many in the research community are trying to get a better sense of the range of patient experiences at stem cell clinics.

Have you had a stem cell treatment at a clinic?

What has your experience been like?

Please share it in the comments. Or you can also email me directly ([email protected]).

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