CNN stumbled badly on its recent article on Celltex, a Texas-owned stem cell clinic that has seen more than its share of controversy over the years including tangles with the FDA. As a result, the company has moved its clinical operations to Mexico where oversight is more lax. Their customers include American patients in Mexico beyond the reach of the FDA.
Those receiving the non-FDA approved stem cell “treatments” in Mexico include at least one pediatric patient. Recently Celltex has been the subject of favorable media stories that report unproven outcomes that nonetheless portray the Celltex stem cells as working like a charm. I have written before about Celltex had partnered with the Arthritis Foundation in PR efforts.
Now CNN has published this warm and fuzzy story about Celltex’s focus on juvenile arthritis patients. The unbalanced story says nothing about Celltex’s run in with the FDA, that the company moved to Mexico to avoid FDA oversight, the fact that the offerings of Celltex are unproven, and that Celltex customers could face risks from the stem cells that they purchase.
In short, CNN only gives one side to the story. I’m glad that the two patients mentioned in the story are currently feeling better, but there’s more to the situation than just that.
I would hope that news coverage of stem cell clinics would be more balanced and give readers including potential patients the full stories.