Washington State Bill to Require Unproven Stem Cell Clinics to Post Notices

Charles Murry UW
Charles Murry UW

There’s some also encouraging action at the state level on direct-to-consumer stem cell clinics operating without FDA approval including most recently in Washington State.

Charles Murry UW
Professor Charles Murry, UW

Last year here in California we passed a bill into law that (1) requires stem cell clinics selling non-FDA approved therapies to post notices for patients and (2) instructs the state medical board to keep track of the situation. Democratic Senator and Dr. Ed Hernandez was the sponsor.

More recently Republican lawmakers in the Florida State legislature sponsored a bill aiming to go much further with clinic oversight. Now Washington State has a pending bill (H.B. 2356) sponsored by Democratic Rep. Eileen Cody that would follow California’s lead in requiring clinic notices to patients.

You can learn more about the Washington bill in this opinion piece by two leaders in the stem cell research field up in the Seattle area, Drs. Chuck Murry and C. Anthony Blau of the University of Washington (UW). I was up visiting the UW just a few months ago to give a talk at their Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine. It was great to visit there and learned a lot about the stem cell research ongoing at the UW including from Dr. Murry.

Topic of the Seattle area for-profit stem cell clinics also came up during the visit. The main newspaper up there, The Seattle Times, has run several ads for stem cell clinics selling unproven therapies that lack FDA approval just as we’ve seen happening across the U.S. with mainstream media ad buys these days including here in Sacramento.

I hope more common sense state laws get passed that then as laws provide consumer protections and protect patients. The Washington State bill seems right on track toward that goal. We’ll see if it and the Florida bill end up passing.


    • Good question. I’m not sure any are fully proven at this point in the sense of properly controlled data showing safety and efficacy. However, there is a wide range of different clinic practices that are important to keep in mind and evaluate as best as one can. Do they collect and publish data in reputable journals? Do they include control subjects who get placebo? Are their products compliant with FDA regs? For example, I may not yet be convinced that bone marrow cells really help with osteoarthritis, but such a use is often going to be compliant so such a clinic may not be breaking the rules. In contrast, using fat stem cells for almost any non-cosmetic uses is generally these days going to be breaking FDA rules.

  1. I suffer from knee OA and I was recently looking into the Rejuv clinic in St. Cloud, MN. They claim to have great success with bone marrow stem cells, PRP and Prolotherapy. Any opinion or info ?

  2. True, there are no FDA approved clinics. It is all still investigational, as far as consulting with a reputable clinic, ask around, post on a social site who has had good results and with whom ?

    • This is a big problem. As far as I know for many therapies nobody is doing a big double-blind study to test its efficacy (maybe there a clinics who don’t have any interest to get this data concerning their own therapies) and because of missing trials and missing big data many therapies will maybe never be approved.

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