Shh! Top 10 stem cell clinic secrets kept from patients

Shh stem cell clinic secrets

Shh stem cell clinic secretsFor-profit stem cell clinic secrets are bad news for patients.

Stem cell clinics are in the business of making profits above all else and to make steady money they need a strong flow of patients as their paying customers for their non-FDA approved offerings. In order to keep the money pouring in, some of the clinics may not be completely truthful with patients. These clinic secrets can be directly told to prospective customers or implicit in the operation of the business. Below are the top 10 stem cell clinic secrets that clinics don’t want patients to know because then the businesses would lose money. In many cases the clinic businesses themselves have told me these realities kept from patients over the years.

  1. Not enough cells. Often there almost certainly aren’t enough living cells in their treatments to do any good. Some of the clinics have actually told me over the years that they are convinced that to really work the treatments require cells have to be grown in a lab first to have sufficient numbers. But, even so they sell the non-proliferated cell treatments that they themselves believe to be underpowered because of too few cells. Nice, huh?
  2. Even they aren’t believers. They don’t really believe their treatments work. They often are counting on the placebo effect. They have actually said this on rare occasions. They are selling a placebo for $5K, $10K, or even $20K a pop, but mostly don’t want to admit it.
  3. People have been hurt. Some of their customers have been harmed by them over the years. People have died, been blinded, had tumors sprout up, have bone grow in their eyelid, and more. The clinics don’t tell new customers about this. Some even say the offerings are “100% safe”. Really?
  4. Millions in profits. Some of the businesses are making millions off of customers. The clinics are roughly estimated to have total costs per treatment of about $1,000. While they generally do not release patient volume stats, estimates suggest that many of the clinics are making millions off of patients in profits. But the clinics portray themselves as just being in it for the well-being of their patients like some kind of “Robin Hoods of stem cells”.
  5. Stem cell newbies. Some clinics don’t know squat about stem cells. So some clinics have physicians who are long-time experts in stem cells and transplantation, but most don’t. Some even have been trained by folks who don’t have an M.D. or even a Ph.D. or anything.
  6. Non-specialists. If you have a specific condition, you need a specialist. CNS problem? Do you really want a dermatologist, plastic surgeon or urologist handling your case? Respiratory problem? Don’t you want a pulmonologist? Have M.S.? Do you really want a cosmetic surgeon treating you? It makes no sense. Just because stem cells are involved doesn’t remove the need for speciality training.
  7. They’ll experiment on kids. Some stem cell clinics have pediatric customers. Providing medical care to kids raises unique medical issues and ethical considerations. Some clinics shouldn’t be treating kids with a 10-foot pole because they just aren’t qualified, but they do it anyway for the money.
  8. Safety shmafety. “The worst that can happen is that it won’t work” is like a mantra for some stem cell clinics, but it is total B.S. Most of the clinics don’t really know them to be safe conclusively based on properly controlled studies. But they say the treatments are very safe anyway to reassure customers.
  9. Past-patient or recruiter? There are so many patient testimonials out there and there are some patients who energetically advocate for specific clinics. In some cases, these patients truly believe they’ve been helped and want to spread the word, but sadly in other cases the people portraying themselves as patients are either patients who are receiving payments/discounted treatments from the clinics or not patients at all, but are rather recruiters for the clinic posing as patients. Some claimed patient satisfaction rates at certain businesses also seem a bit too good.
  10. FDA?  Lately the clinics are adding more disclaimers to their websites such as “The stem cell treatments offered here are not claimed to have any benefit and are not FDA approved”. Sometimes the sites say outright that they do not need FDA approval. At best that’s a highly debatable statement. Some of them don’t really believe they exempt from FDA rules. They’re just hoping to be lost from oversight by the FDA in the herd of hundreds of other clinics. Or they just don’t really give it much thought at all. We’re hoping our new law on stem cell therapies here in California will help with this problem.

Overall, keeping secrets from patients is all about profits, not patient wellbeing.

11 Comments


  1. Hello, Admin:

    From your listing:

    “Some of the clinics have actually told me over the years…”
    “They have actually said this on rare occasions.”
    “Some clinics…”
    “Some stem cell clinics…”

    Well, I guess no one should expect personal opinion blogging to approach the standards for responsible reporting.

    List on, but you are capable of more responsible, credible, and useful information dissemination when you are emulating scientific integrity as opposed to when you are just spewing forth with your own personal biases, legitimate or not.

    Bored this week-end, or did something occur (or not occur) to get you riled up? 😉

    James at Asymmetrex


    • Exactly. Those kind of statements make the whole post completely unreliable. Very shoddy – especially for a scientist. “The clinics are roughly estimated to have total costs per treatment of about $1,000” (citation please). According to @admin himself, there are hundreds of clinics around the world doing all kinds of different treatments. How can the per treatment cost of $1,000 possibly apply to every one of these clinics? I cannot imagine that the “cost” of one adipose treatment i which the doctor is processing the fat using a bedside machine into SVF is the same as the cost of an adipose treatment in which a cGMP lab isolates and expands mesenchymal stem cells and then sends them to another country to be administered to the patient in a clinic. GMP labs and personnel are not cheap. Does this $1,000 account for the clinic’s rent, employees, taxes, insurance, clinic equipment, etc.? (I could go on)


  2. Every week patients reach out to me to help answer questions and clarify aspects of this complicated arena. I often think about them when I’m brainstorming what to post about.

    It’s too bad, but hardly surprising that so many for-profit stem cell clinics marketing non-FDA approved “therapies” aren’t inclined to publicly discuss or publish information on their marketing strategies to recruit more customers, make larger profits, avoid rigorous oversight, etc.

    If useful information in this area is nonetheless available in the sense of being discussed behind the scenes and it appears very likely to be accurate to me, then posting it on my blog in my view is a service to patients and the wider stem cell community. I realize there are diverse views about many stem cell-related topics, but I call it like I see it on my blog.


  3. Hello Admin and readers,

    With all due respect, I would disagree with the two first comments; in my personal view this post is valuable. The lack of information regarding treatments (detailed procedures, potential efficacy, risks, costs…), comes from the lack of transparency from the stem cell clinics themselves. Although we all agree that accuracy is a key element in fact-based (scientific) medicine, informing patients of potential risks is an important issue that cannot wait to get statistically valable data, because clinics don’t wait to catch patients.


  4. I agree with Francois- this kind of information is valuable. There is no alternative source of information except from the people who have paid these clinics to treat them with something that the clinic says will help them.


  5. Well said, Paul. Should we be silent because clinics won’t tell us what they are doing? No. Since the clinics make their customers sign agreements to be silent (unless they are willing to be flattering), we can only glean information from those who will speak anonymously. Not to interject politics, but doesn’t this seem a bit familiar…attempts to silence negative information?


    • How do you know that all clinics make “customers” sign “agreements to be silent (unless they are willing to be flattering)” (nondisclosure agreements)? If you have evidence to prove this, please share it with us.


  6. Spot on facts!
    Regarding no:5, I even saw an online course selling physicians stem cell training “certificates”

    “….You will immediately be able to start offering cutting-edge medical procedures to patients, establish yourself as an expert in your field, and enjoy the benefits of this growing industry….”

    A few hours of video, 26 case studies, 12 conditions and few pages of theoretical knowledge then you are done you can get your certificate for “establishing yourself as an expert in the field” .. Hands on training is optional…


  7. Patient exploitation has become rampant due to greed and the facility with which untrained but licensensed non-specialists gain access to the procedures. False advertising and fake news draw patients in for experimental treatments that were not meant for every patient who presents for treatment. There are authorities but patients may not be ambitious enough to seek out the best sources for enlightenment. Search engines are dominated by big corporate business who spend hundreds of thousands marketing their clinically inconsistent brand products. The problem is escalating as these same large corporate entities are forming pseudo-foundations to promote their agenda, rather than promoting patient health and well being. One viewpoint. Plenty of others.


  8. Dear Admin:

    Here’s the number one secret that private stem cell clinics, FDA-authorized clinical trials, and even approved stem cell treatment centers are keeping from their patients:

    None of them know the number of stem cells they are giving to their patients, if in fact any stem cells at all! And, yes, knowing stem cell dose is just as important for developing and providing the most effective and efficient stem cell treatments as is knowing drug dose for developing and insuring the most effective and efficient pharmaceutical treatments.

    Your readers can learn more about this secret and what some companies and agencies are trying to do about disclosing and addressing it by registering for “Stem Cell Characterization,” a free online panel discussion co-sponsored by RegMedNet and Asymmetrex (the commenter’s for-profit company) on Nov. 30.

    To register: visit https://event.on24.com/wcc/r/1535143/98BB62D05EBA779D34ADFA43D150D077?partnerref=asymmetrex

    James at Asymmetrex


  9. I know various people who have really been helped by this treatment, including my husband. He was able to avoid a hip replacement so far.

Leave a Reply