FIX IT! SF Chronicle runs striking stem cell clinic ad with coupon

stem cell ad couponI’ve seen stem cell clinic ad after ad pop up in the mainstream media in my own hometown in The Sacramento Bee paper, but others are sprouting as well and a friend sent me a particularly striking stem cell advertisement from a recent copy of the San Francisco Chronicle.

Not only does this stem cell clinic say you can come to a free stem cell seminar, but also you get a free lunch and $1,000 off a stem cell “treatment” of some kind if you go to the seminar.

The clinic in question seems to be called Advanced Health Center. The providers mentioned are Dr. Max Wirjo, M.D. as well as Drs. Brian and Jeff Coyle, D.C., F.A.S.B.E. I’m not familiar with these folks, but looked them up on the web. Wirjo seems to be an anesthesiologist. The Coyles, perhaps brothers, are chiropractors. On a quick search I couldn’t find any other links between these three providers and stem cells on the web at least. What kind of stem cell experience do they have?

The ad makes a number of potential medical claims including that the marketed offerings can “fix” a number of medical problems (see the big “FIX IT!” in the ad). The offering is described as effective, which is a medical claim, and in fact is called “most effective”. There are also claims of “long lasting” results. It is at least indirectly implied that the stem cell therapy being marketed can grow new cartilage, ligaments, and muscle, which is a very big claim. On their website on the stem cell therapy specific page, claims are again made in videos from R3 Stem Cell.

Does this seminar being promoted fit into the category of what I call “stem cell clinic infomercials”, which I wrote about recently in a Stem Cells and Translational Medicine article here?

When I see an ad like this, other questions come to mind. What data if any is behind it? How many patients will be experimented upon? How much patients pay? What are the risks and potential negative outcomes? Have they talked to the FDA?

Have you all seen ads like these? If so please send my way. Thanks.

6 thoughts on “FIX IT! SF Chronicle runs striking stem cell clinic ad with coupon”

  1. I had stem cell about three years and spent 5500 on the cells being put back in my body to help my lungs to heal. guess what I got worse what can I do with this phony cell treatment

    1. Did you travel abroad to have this procedure done, Richard? In the United States, Doctors are not allowed to culture or expand autologous stem cells to higher therapeutic levels for their patients. That is considered creating a DRUG by the FDA. My understanding (as a layperson of course) is that if you simply remove a person’s stem cells from their adipose tissue and immediately return that very cellular material to the patient via SYSTEMIC infusion (I.V.) about the most that will happen is that those adipose derived stem cells will begin to heal the liposuction surgical wound…but not much else. I may have this type of fat derived stem cell procedure for my arthritic knees as a DIRECT INJECTION rather than a SYSTEMIC INFUSION and see if it works better than the PRP or Platelet Rich Plasma which I’ve had some success with. A direct injection might work in my inflamed joints. But systemically for your lung condition? I seriously doubt it. There is simply not enough cellular material to go around for a same day procedure which sounds like what you received. For that I would guess as a layperson you probably need expanded stem cells and you can only do that out of country. $5500.00 is definitely not chump change. However it sounds relatively inexpensive for a systemic infusion because you can pay at least that much for the mini liposuction which precedes the actual procedure of receiving your own stem cells.
      Do you have COPD, Richard? There are those who have published to this blog with COPD. They were treated out of country with EXPANDED stem cells SYSTEMICALLY and, according to them, successfully. But even out of country, systemic infusions with expanded stem cells can cost about 10 times as much as what you paid. That price may depend on how many infusions you receive.

      1. I made an appointment at the Advanced Medical Center because I am researching stem cell treatment for arthritis in my big toes. At first they seemed very nice as they offered me coffee tea Donuts Etc. I told them I was already familiar with stem cell as I have been to a popup seminar as well as a clinic in Palo Alto. I found both those other clinics to be a hard sell. I told the doctor that and yet I felt that they tried to Hard Sell me on stem cell treatments. The doctor did not even know what kind of stem cells they were using even though there was a brochure in the packet that they gave me when I left. They had me watch 3 videos that took about an hour and then I chatted with the chiropractor for about 5 minutes period during the time I was with the doctor we were interrupted 4 times. Each time someone would walk into the room with a note in their hand and give it to the doctor so they did not have to speak. The doctor would respond either with a remark or twice he got up and left the room. At this point I was starting to feel uncomfortable. He did not really do an exam but just looked at my feet for about 30 seconds with no comment. I had my own x-rays that I had gotten from my medical doctor and he made copies of those. Then he told me he wanted me to come back in 2 days later and gave me an invitation to bring my husband along. I found this to be a bit insulting thinking that since I am not the breadwinner in the family that my husband would somehow have the final decision? Anyways I decided not to return but instead wanted to have a phone consultation with the doctor for two reasons. First, it is a 45-minute drive for me to get to Campbell and with traffic it is closer to 2 hours and 2nd we had already discussed pricing which was $ $6,500 and that included the discount, so I really felt like there was nothing else to discuss and driving down there would be a waste of my time. The receptionist told me that the doctor does not do phone consults. He did however call me back and told me that he took a look at my images and that I am not bound to Bone which was good. He said I might be a good candidate for the laser treatment which I have not really researched but seems to be FDA-approved. Because I did not attend the free seminar I did have to pay for this appointment and the cost was $97. The doctors seem nice enough but they are chiropractors and not medical doctors. The doctor who does the injection her name is dr. Sonia Bell and she is in San Francisco. I have put in a request to have a phone consult with her.

        1. I think there is a place for Chiropractors as health care providers. I’ve been helped before in a Physical Therapy kind of way with exercises, stretching, adjustments, and therapeutic ultrasound. But I’ve never been injected with anything into my body through chiropractic. I live in Maryland. Perhaps Chiropractors in California can do injections. For any sort of an injection, my first choice is an MD (Medical Doctor) or a DO (Doctor of Osteopathy). In the regenerative clinic that I go to here in Maryland I’ve had a Family Nurse Practitioner inject my knees with platelet rich plasma. She is just as skilled as any of the doctors on staff in that regard. They guide the needle using ultrasonic imaging. I would not use Chiropractors or Physical Therapists for regenerative therapy, Anna. Try regenerative clinics that are staffed by Medical Doctors and/or Doctors of Osteopathic Medicine. If you do enough research yourself, Anna, I don’t see why you would need to attend a costly seminar. I’ve been invited to seminars on Regenerative Medicine before that seem more promotional than anything else. I’ve never been to one and don’t plan on going either.

  2. The regenerative medicine clinic that I’ve gone to and received Platelet Rich Plasma Injections has been written about in the New York Magazine…a very fair progressive publication. They really had nothing but good to say about the clinic I go to on occasion. (About 2-3 times a year) According to MRI’s, I had Torn meniscus in both knees as well as some arthritis which began in June of 2012. However, since having been treated, though the knees are still particularly stiff in the morning, they no longer lock up on me at night while sleeping. I’m still fairly active in terms of my walking and stretching routine. In short the knees feel better. Difficult to quantify what “feeling better” means. But it means something to me. I’ve not had any stem cell injections nor have they been recommended to me by the lead doctor at the regenerative clinic or his staff. Given the opportunity, I would not hesitate for a second. My case in the strictest of scientific terms is anecdotal regarding the positive outcome of my PRP treatments. But anecdotal is still evidence though not as strong as the type generated by double blind placebo controlled multi center clinical trials. (Provided they are conducted fairly and accurately) Still, I like the idea that the choice is mine; the patient’s. Doing nothing would, in my opinion, eventually have led to bilateral knee replacement operations. I believe that patients, not bureaucrat$, should have the final decision about which treatment options to pursue. Mainstream science and medical practice may be fine for some to rely upon. But, I’m not always convinced that my government or some scientists engaged in what appears to be perpetual research have the patient’s best interest at heart.

  3. Escalon Physical Medicine has offered free dinner just to listen to their stem cell seminar. If one signs up that day and pays $100 it will go to the cost of the injection, $5500. This cost also includes post physical therapy

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