Lawsuit against stem cell clinic StemGenex expands to 5 patients

Stemgenex

The stem cell clinic StemGenex was sued almost a year ago related to allegations about their marketing claims. This proposed class action suit, Moorer v. StemGenex, now includes five named patients involved as one can see from the new fourth amended complaint court document.Stemgenex

The five total named patients involved in the suit include four new ones Alexandra Gardner of Colorado, Stephen Ginsberg of California, Jennifer Brewer of Montana, and Rebecca King of Arkansas, and then the original plaintiff Selena Moorer, who is a resident of Florida. Reportedly each StemGenex customer paid $14,900 for their stem cell transplant.

Notably, four of the patients mentioned in the document traveled from other states to the San Diego area to receive stem cells from StemGenex. This seems to be a more general thing with the business and its customers as the amended complaint document quoted the StemGenex website that, “over 70% of patients travel to StemGenex Medical Group from out of state.”

Besides the business itself, the Defendants listed include the following: “ANDRE P. LALLANDE, D.O., SCOTT SESSIONS, M.D., RITA ALEXANDER, and DOES 1-100.” The LA Times recently reported that Sessions was the subject of California State Medical Board action. I think that he is no longer associated with StemGenex. For other archived posts on StemGenex see here. The new court document indicates that the health conditions of the plaintiffs for which they thought stem cells might help include lupus, diabetes, painful spine and joint condition, and Multiple Sclerosis (MS).

More broadly businesses marketing non-FDA approved stem cells to patients claim that stem cells can help a whole array of health problems. In my opinion it is highly unlikely that one or even two types of stem cells could be a safe and effective way to treat so many conditions. The data just isn’t there from properly controlled studies.

The suit against StemGenex makes specific allegations about the clinic’s marketing and practices. The first 3 parts of the action described in the new document provide some sense of the specific major allegations:

“1. This is a class action against STEMGENEX MEDICAL GROUP, INC., and related persons and entities (collectively, “Defendants” or “StemGenex”). This action arises out of StemGenex’s scheme to wrongfully market and sell “stem cell treatments” at their La Jolla, California location to consumers nationwide.

2. StemGenex’s consumers are often sick or disabled, suffering from incurable diseases and a dearth of hope. StemGenex’s marketing makes claims to these consumers that by performing liposuction of a person’s adult fat cells, processing them, and injecting them back into a person as stem cells (the “Stem Cell Treatments”), they effectively treat a multitude of diseases.

3. StemGenex claims that 100% of its prior consumers are satisfied with its service. StemGenex has no reasonable basis to make the claim it has made about 100% consumer satisfaction. StemGenex omits material information from all marketing about the Stem Cell Treatments and the dissatisfaction and complaints of ineffectiveness from people who have purchased the treatments.”

The case remains open and to my knowledge its class status is not yet approved. The specific allegations also have not been addressed in court as to their veracity. The case could be dismissed, it could proceed as a class suit or move forward but not as a class suit, or it could be settled.

4 Comments


  1. https://web.archive.org/web/20150311193636/http://stemgenex.com:80/

    I think the real issue is this:

    “StemGenex offers access to individualized stem cell treatment plans. Most stem cell treatment centers and clinics offer a standard treatment utilizing an IV or direct injections. We believe the key to the most effective stem cell treatment is through treatment plan customization. As each patient’s disease is different, each treatment must be tailored around their specific disease related complications and symptoms. This is why StemGenex offers access to individualized treatment plans which consist of targeted administration methods to hone in on each part of the body where the complications exist. Through customized, targeted stem cell treatment plans our goal is to offer patients access to stem cell treatment options a patient can truly benefit from to significantly improve one’s quality of life.”

    Is that really true?

    My guess is that 100% of the patients answered certain post-treatment (pre-results) survey questions positively, so the “patient satisfaction survey” is 100% positive. It should be easy enough to produce these patient satisfaction surveys to see if this claim is true or not.

    Will 100% of their patients satisfied forever? Probably no doctor, clinic or hospital can make that claim. Is that the claim they are making? I don’t know.


  2. Here are the exact questions. Did these patients answer them? None of them address positive results.

    How satisfied are you with the medical team that performed your treatment?
    Do you consider StemGenex a trusted partner in the treatment of your disease?
    Based upon your experience, would you feel comfortable recommending StemGenex to a friend or family member?


  3. @Bill – the claims regarding patient satisfaction cannot be proven either way as patient self-reporting can be positioned according to need.

    On the other hand, allegation 2. is more defined,

    “that by performing liposuction of a person’s adult fat cells, processing them, and injecting them back into a person as stem cells, they [StemGenex] effectively treat a multitude of diseases.”

    I hope they are asked to show controlled scientific evidence for this, especially for MS.


  4. Perhaps StemGenex is guilty of hyping their products/services/patient care? I think at one time Doctors were not allowed in our country to advertise, but they sure seem to today. Mainstream medicine appears so much like corporate business. Increasingly, patients seem more to have become simply a means to financial ends. Not a perfect system to say the least. But certainly not limited to mainstream medicine either as this article reminds us. But even if medicine were not essentially a business, it would still be an imperfect system. I guess that’s why it is called the Practice of Medicine after all. Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think the harm that came to these patients was limited to their pocket books? Given the tone of some of the rhetoric about “unproven therapies” even on this very website/blog, it sounds like things SHOULD have been much worse for these StemGenex patients. They did not develop, for instance, cancer. Consider that publications which emphasize science and medicine have released articles mentioning tumor formation relative to even adult autologous stem cells.

    (https://www.statnews.com/2016/11/30/fda-califf-stem-cell-nejm/)

    Statements in the above link likening adult stem cells to tumor formation seem fairly “Unproven” or at least unjustified to me.

    Consider though that biomedical scientific research is not a perfect system either. I’m acquainted with a young man who works in grant processing at a large biomedical institute in Bethesda, Maryland. He’s told me on a few occasions that even scientists have to glorify (hype?) their work when applying for grant funding to keep their labs operating. I believe it! Just read or listen to the press on occasion. Remember for instance, genomic medicine or nano technology? The “promise”, “hope” and “excitement” of cell based therapies at some ambiguous point in the future. A future that seems to me very reminiscent of a mirage. (Lately the hype is relative to CRISPR and Big Data) Many describe their work in bio-medicine often times as though a revolution is just around the corner. But descriptions of this sort sound like a lot of speculation or perhaps even hype to me. Here’s some of my own speculation just as a lay person. Perhaps if the FDA did not classify autologous stem cells as prescription drugs and instead authorized their expansion for conditions that afflicted these poor patients in the first place, then lawsuits against clinics like StemGenex might occur much less often.

Leave a Reply