The local stem cell clinic here in Sacramento, Nervana Stem Cell Centers, continues to advertise treatments in The Sacramento Bee and there continue to be big questions about this situation. I’ve blogged about Nervana before and you can see the archived posts here.
Nervana must be spending big money on advertising because they have run many full-page ads in the Sac Bee in 2016. Those aren’t cheap. You can see the latest ad above in this morning’s paper.
The focus lately seems to be on marketing stem cells to treat neuropathy. One of the questions I have is whether there is evidence that using stem cells to treat neuropathy and other conditions such as arthritis is safe.
Is there any data showing it is effective?
Are consumers getting their money’s worth? These are expensive experimental treatments and stem cell treatment cost is a big issue in this arena today.
Is this OK with the FDA?
The fine print. As to that last question at least one past ad for this group seemed to suggest FDA compliance. However, in the fine print on today’s ad it says amongst other things, “the use of stem cells is not FDA approved for the treatment of the conditions that we treat and their use is investigational.” Some caution there from the clinic.
The word “investigational” there is also an interesting one as it raises the question again about whether the use of stem cells in this way would constitute the use of an “investigational drug” as the FDA would put it. If the answer is “yes”, then clinics should be getting FDA approval in advance.
It also says in an aspirational tone in the fine print, “However, we do believe in the healing power of stem cells and offer them to you in advance of any potential scientific discoveries that may prove their efficacy.”
Biomedical treatments should be, in my opinion, based on more than belief and should not be sold prior to proof.