1. Mel Gibson has been very vocal against embryonic stem cell research. There is a fair amount of promoting stem cell treatments to undermine any research using embryonic stem cells. With Mel Gibson’s history I would suspect you are right and this is more a promotion video than informational.

  2. We can respectfully agree to disagree as we always have. We come from very different worlds. I am a no option patient who exhausted all FDA approved treatments living with a chronic disease. Most of the people seeking this treatment are in the exact same situation.

    The newly enacted right to try movement was monumental in the fact that it gave patients back their voice. It gave them back their constitutional right to life. Our right to medical freedom.

    The current FDA Commissioner in his June 4, 2018 press release stated the need for greater use of real-world evidence. We represent a group of over 2,000 patients safely and effectively treated by adult stem cells. With all do respect, your work is in the lab. You don’t treat patients. Your work in the lab is greatly important, but cannot consistently ignore real-world evidence.

    A few facts in your opinion piece that were omitted. The indisputable fact that Mr. Gibson’s father was 91 and given only a short time to live due to multiple issues. He received adult stem cell therapy in Panama and just celebrated his 100th birthday. Those are facts. Facts that cannot be disputed and can be backed up with medical records.

    The 2,000 plus patients in our group are living, walking examples of the safety and efficacy of this treatment. Many who do not have to fight for their lives, maybe unintentionally, tend to make a mockery of patients that chose to fight, and won, by seeking an adult stem cell treatment.

    I think it is easily forgotten that these are predominantly no option patients who are exercising their constitutional right to life by seeking alternative treatments. Shouldn’t we be happy for those who using whatever means succeeded in conquering their diseases? At the end of the day this is all about the patients. We need to see and hear them and stop speaking about them as if they do not exist. After all, patients are the ultimate stake holders.

    This treatment is not for everyone and many successfully manage their disease using other means. However, when you lose all options why is it so bad to succeed using this means?

    So, an infomercial or a patient success story? A beautiful ending for a man who was given a death sentence and not only survived, but lived to celebrate his 100th birthday. Isn’t that what it’s all about?


    Tracy Thompson
    Co-Founder patientsforstemcells.org

    • Thanks for the comment, Tracy. I respect the fact that as much as we disagree on a number of things, you are passionate about your cause and your comment is constructive.

      • You mean to accept the fact that your article references someone failing Not doing the EXACT same thing as in Panama Maybe if you showed a failed study here that Does follow what panama’s procedures is doing people would believe you…. Otherwise i am safe to side with the 91 year old that was pretty much on his deathbed train who beat the problems thanks to the panama office When i see studies that do it and test the exact way it is done in panama and FAIL at that point this can be discredited then… Not with this article frankly i am sorry please try again.

  3. That’s just your opinion that this is a promotional video. Every time a patient tells of their success with adult stem cell therapy, doesn’t mean they want to promote a certain clinic or doctor. It has much more to do with telling their story. I’ve been treated by more than one doctor/clinic. I’ve been interviewed on TV, radio, quoted in articles etc. just like you. I’m not trying to promote a certain clinic! I’m trying to give patients with no voice a voice and a right to medical freedom with the use of adult stem cells. With that being said a patient has every right to tell the story of success or failures with adult stem cells. Patient voices have been squelched for way too long. Trust me Dr. Riordan does not need to put himself out there like that to drum up business. Assumptions are often very wrong. If a future patient was able to share their story of a successful treatment with iPC cells, would you automatically consider that only for promotional reasons? If only everyone had a patient wellbeing 1st and foremost on their minds. Approved drugs damage and kill, yet that’s ok? As a successfully treated adult stem cell patient for MS and ACL repair, this is just the same discussion we’ve been having since 2012, just a different day.

    Do you believe Mel Gibson, doesn’t have a right to tell his story or his fathers? As a patient, does he not have a right to have the scientist, PHD, beside him who made this all possible? I’d surly want Dr. Riordan beside me explaining the science behind all this. I understand a lot, but I don’t understand the actual science like he does. I’m not a scientist. I’m a patient. Medical Freedom means something in Panama, and in Texas. My disease, my body, my right to seek medical freedom, especially for ‘no option’ terminal or chronic patients. It’s a very democratic point of view. (and I’m not referring to a political party)

    • @Jennifer,
      Did you watch this episode?
      I ask because you focus in your comment on patients telling their storing but this video is to a large extent not focused on a patient telling their experience of what they see as a success (or even of Mel conveying his father’s experience).

      There’s some of that, but a lot of the video is instead Riordan being given a platform to pitch his stem cell business, his books, etc. It seems pretty naive to claim that someone being in a video with 1.8 million views on YouTube where you can talk about your business wouldn’t help drum up more business.

      Joe was not really asking any even moderately probing questions and there are some balanced questions that could have been asked and/or pushed on more by Joe. If he just did a GoogleNews search on “stem cells” he could see a lot of stories that could be the basis for fair, but probing questions.

      In my opinion overall it instead came across as mostly a marketing thing rather than an opportunity for patient stories. Maybe others feel differently.

      • Yes, I did watch the video when it 1st came out. I’m sure it did drum up more business, but the motivation behind this is not for someone to speculate on. You had a book that you promoted vigorously if I remember correctly. Wouldn’t you have loved to go on Joe Rogan and talked about it? I imagine Joe isn’t a scientist or a patient so that may reflect his interview style. Kudos to him for having an actual stem cell scientist and a patient on the show. That doesn’t happen very often. (I’d never even heard of The Joe Rogan Show before this interview)

  4. It seems you have missed a very important point here. 1st the concept of a screening process that selectively builds up the highly reactive stem cells they call “golden” embryonic cells that secrete specific chemistry.

    And the most important point is that they have recognized that it is not the presence of the “golden” cells but the secretions of these cells that promote restoration of function and healing,

    This is a major advance in understanding process and the pharmaceutical industry is going to be all over it.

    Much of life/research is about asking the right question and this research team has done so.

    • @Lorin,
      I did hear the mention of “golden” cells in the video, but to me the use of that kind of non-scientific adjective to describe cells seems questionable and immediate raises a red (or should I say “ruby”) flag.
      I also noted the claim that the “golden” cells secrete factors, but if the cells only hang around a short time, I still don’t see they can have any lasting, meaningful benefit.
      Bottom line — If there’s real benefit and it’s safe, prove it in a properly controlled, blinded study that is large enough to really figure things out. And do this before charging people.

      • Your starting to seem Questionable “admin” hard to attach truth to “admin” Maybe a name Like Joe Rogan? or Mel Gibson or James R Johnston III? can’t stand people who are afraid to talk there mind and hide behind a curtain 😛 Dont preach to me nixon about your ideals they are selfish in nature. You know in the USA it is Illegal to do the research sooooo that’s why people leave the country if they are desperate enough to work on medicine where there is less regulation. Should not be Surprised this is how we ended up with the China Problem…

  5. Paul,

    I rarely ever see a positive post on your site about what someone or clinic has done or achieved for their patients. Most times you talk down at what ever treatment they have offered or what the patient has had or said. I agree 100% with Tracey Thompson comments. I am sure anyone watching the video would have enough sense to realise that part of it maybe showing off Dr. Riordan and his clinic but at the end of the day the well being of the patient is the most important fact and outcome. For Mr. Gibson’s father it certainly seems to have allowed him another 9+ years with his family. I have not seen you out there offering or giving any treatment to patients who are asking for an alternative such as a stem cell treatment but you are happy to poke fingers at anyone that does. I am not saying what you do in your laboratory is not very important but so is allowing those patients that do want to look at alternatives treatments a right to do so and a voice to say how the treatment worked for them.

    You suggest there should have been more probing questions asked then why don’t you set up a video meeting with Dr Riordan or some other well known stem cell person and you ask the questions so we can see the answers or is it easier to pick someone else’s to bits? I am very sure we would all be very interested in watching such a video and see the answers to your probing questions.

    On another side even what you put out via this (your) web site is a some what promotional information channel about Paul Knoepfler, his thoughts, feelings and what he does. Some may say it is very one side towards you and your work and may be somewhat bias because of that.

    There is also a TEDx video done for Dr Shapiro– She went Panama Stem Cell Institute and had treatment on herself using Umbilical Cord Tissue. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OkTERUQUvpA Is this a promotional video or is she telling her story?


    • @David, I might email Riordan to propose an email Q&A.
      My blog is by its nature going to reflect my views and background and in some ways include information about me. However, I’m not promoting injecting people and especially kids with unproven stem cells to make a profit.

      • Thank you Paul for reply and as I said in my post, I and many others would be very interested in seeing the answers to your probing questions with Dr Riordan. Hopefully what you put to him will be easy to answer yes – no type questions and that will help patients to make up their own minds if they wish to proceed with treatment.

  6. @admin Regarding “golden cells”, Riordan explains them in his book. Have you read it? Also, Joe Rogan has had stem cell therapy and stated on his show that it helped him. Perhaps that’s why he had Mel Gibson and Riordan on. Because it’s Joe’s personal experience as well. Good luck with your not-so-veiled attempt at trying to get yourself or one of your cohorts onto Joe’s show (for the ratings of course) to poo-poo everything not FDA-approved… The needle on my jealousy meter is pegging right now.

    • No, I haven’t read that book and probably won’t.
      You might be right about his motivation for that show being in part curiosity. But I think in the video there was something said about Mel asking Joe to do a show like this too and it seems Joe really respects Mel.
      Hey, if Joe wants to really get broader views about stem cells why not bring on someone like a professor or biotech leader with a different perspective who thinks real clinical trials are the key? Maybe like Jan Nolta my amazing colleague from here at UC Davis who is Editor-In-Chief of the journal Stem Cells and works on all kinds of stem cells including MSCs, Shinya Yamanaka, Sally Temple, George Daley, Robert Lanza, Jeanne Loring, etc.

      • I don’t think the country is in any danger of your perspective not getting out. A cursory google search shows that you receive plenty of exposure.

        Here’s a short list:

        LA Times
        Sacramento Bee
        San Diego Union Tribune
        Consumer Reports
        Huffington Post
        Scientific American
        Washington Post
        New York Post
        The Verge
        Capitol Weekly
        Seattle Times
        The New York Times

      • Paul, you may consider reading Dr. Riordan’s more scientific book called ‘MSC’s.” (The other book is called Stem Cell Therapy A Rising Tide and is written in laymen’s terms so someone like me can understand) I haven’t read the MSC’s book, as it’s waaaaay above my head, but not your’s. May I ask why you wouldn’t consider reading it? It contains 800 clinical trials from around the world that show safety and efficacy of treating a large variety of conditions with adult stem cells. Also the FDA approved studies Dr. Riordan has done for Duchenne’s Muscular Dystrophy are quite astounding. One sweet young man from Indiana has been treated since he was 3 and will never progress like other patients who haven’t been treated! Ryan Benton was granted a “compassionate care,’ so Dr. Riordan treated him making him the 1st young man to be treated in the U.S. for Duchenne’s. Here’s a touching article about when Ryan Benton and 8 year old Issac meeting for the 1st time. These treatments were FDA approved until The FDA’s exemption ran out in the Fall of 2017. Here’s a quote from the article written by, “Coming Together For A Cure,” started by Ryan Benton Family.

        “After the first year of Ryan’s FDA exemption, Dr. Riordan petitioned the FDA to allow for Isaac to be granted the same exemption. Once again, thanks to the proven success of Ryan’s treatment’s and Isaacs sustained success from his treatments, the FDA granted Isaac the green light allowing him to receive six treatments over the course of the three years at Riley Hospital for Children in Indianapolis. This was an enormous blessing as by having the treatments available in their own backyard, the would not have to deal with the numerous complications of traveling out of the United States. Ryan’s FDA exemption expired in fall of 2017 and Isaacs shortly after. This left both families no other choice than to make the long arduous trip to Panama for each of their next necessary rounds of adult stem cell treatments.”

        Here’s a link to the full article. It’s well worth the read, as other patients because of the success Ryan and Isaac have had, have also received the benefit of adult stem cell therapy for Duchenne’s overseas.


        Many in the industry argue it is unfair to charge patients thousands of dollars for these types of treatments. What you don’t know, because of the humbleness of many kind physicians only wanting to help patients regain quality of life, many patients aren’t charged a dime by their doctors. Patients who do incur costs, have the money raised for them. We just had a fundraiser for a close family friend of mine and raised 73K in one evening! It will allow my friend to pay off medical bills, receive the much needed cataract surgery which resulted as side effect from the FDA approved drugs he was taking AND receive 2 adult stem cell treatments out of the country for Wegner’s disease, an autoimmune condition. My friend finds himself in the unique position as a, ‘No Option’ patient at the ripe old age of only 32. He has been on a chemo drug, steroids and a variety of other drugs that have severely damaged his body for the past 2 years. Most patients don’t pay a dime out of their own pocket. Why do I know this? I’m in touch with thousands of patients who’ve done just the same! Where there’s a will theres a way! I foresee organization stepping up and helpingalleviate costs for patients who do have to travel out of the country until this is available in the U.S., and covered by insurance.

        I can really relate in a small way to what Ryan and Issac are going through having to travel out of the country now to receive this life saving therapy. As you know I was treated in Houston, in 2012 for Multiple Sclerosis, dxd 2004, and received only 1/3 of a treatment before the FDA shut this IRB study down. Can you imagine having the rug literally ripped out from under you? It’s emotionally and physically wrecking. I have since had to fly out of the country to Panama. Granted I have no mobility issues, thanks to the treatments I’ve had, so this isn’t as arduous journey for me as it is for patients like Ryan Benton. And that’s why we/PFSC fight as hard as we can to make this accessible. The point is thousands of chronically ill patients, where travel is extremely taxing, are having to become medical tourists in other countries, to receive an IV and some injections! Quite literally this could be taken care of in the comfort of their own fully capable physicians office in their own hometowns.

        In a perfect world all the brilliant scientists, doctors, industry and patients in America would collaborate, learn from each other, work together, all in the name of helping patients regain quality of life. If that would happen, America would be THE leader in cell therapies.

        Thank you for letting all voices be heard on your blog!

        Jennifer Ziegler
        Founding Member Patients For Stem Cells

        • jennifer
          im new to the stem cell debate and my 12 yr old son has Duchenne’; which is why we are listening very closely.
          we are researching and it is very helpful to hear from others experiences.

          I thank all of you for the dialog. Especially you Jennifer.

          p.s i do like the poking of Admin “Paul”, how did you guys know his name. Awesome bust out.


  7. This had more of a sale pitch feel than an interview. This showed Joe being used as a tool unwittingly or not. Why he couldn’t simply ask what percent of Kids dont respond to stem cells therapy and the reason for it?

  8. Many of these comments are unfair to Paul, and to the rest of us scientists who are trying to teach people enough science so they don’t get scammed by unscrupulous marketing. We don’t get any benefits from this effort.

    If you like to watch shows, watch Dr. Sally Temple explaining what stem cells can and can’t do when she was on the Oz show. Check it out: http://neuralsci.org/video-dr-temple-dr-oz-show

    “Exposing Experimental Stem Cell Treatments Originally aired on 2/14/2017
    Investigative reporter Elisabeth Leamy goes undercover to find out the truth about experimental stem cell treatments and what medical professionals and clinics are doing to scam vulnerable patients.
    GUESTS: Nancy Grace , Amber Frey , Elisabeth Leamy , Montel Williams , Dr. Sally Temple”

  9. A reminder to people submitting comments to check out our blog’s comment policy first. For instance, comments that include personal attacks against individuals generally won’t be posted. Comments promoting unproven, potentially dangerous “treatments” from clinics or elsewhere generally won’t be posted.

  10. Yes this came off as salesy. Getting Mel on a long form interview style podcast also proves to be effective clickbait (as people think there might be some hard hitting questions about his past behavior.)

    You need to remove the reference to the Duke Trial (this was cord blood not UC-MSCs). Conflating this trial to what the Stem Cell Institute do is not appropriate.

    You can say what you want about the evidence lacking, but the reality is a variety of medications are given in mainstream medicine without Cohrane review endorsement. Clinicians who have sick patients looking at them in the eye understand they might have to do some risk reward calculations to determine if something might be worth a trial.

    Until you have skin in the game i think you have to be very careful talking about the ethics of providing a service (being a stem cell scientist doesn’t classify as having skin in the game imo). I think a lot of the comments above reflect people recognising this intuitively.

    And what’s with the laser beam focus on needing to understand the mechanism?

    One of the major problems with clinical trials (and medicine more generally) is focusing on surrogate end points and reducing (“risk factors”) to increase NNT. I understand the need to understand the mechanism but I think you are getting hung up on it in the case of MSCs.

  11. I studied a lot before ( not all people can do it for them it’s even more complicated) I can read and speak in 3 languages ( English /French and Russian) and I read but not that book of dr Riordan you mentioned but this one: « MSC (Mesenchymal Stem Cells): Clinical Evidence Leading Medicine’s Next Frontier »

    so I do my best to find out real scientific informations… my son had cardiac arrest
    ….. (acsident anoxic cardiac arrest at the age of 4 years and 2 months) 9 January 2016.

    List of universities all over the world doing real clinical trails for stem cells for children’s but you see what I thinks about mainstream medicine : Not satisfied not even a word strong enough to describe feeling that i have for our experience with French hospital care….
    April 2016 we were sent back home from hospital : in wheelchair badly adapted to Marc and parents (yes yes we bend to 2 to push My husband is 1m93 and I am 1 m70 cuffs been too low Even for me) …..my son was recognized 80% disabled !!!

    So naw he is not may be 20% rest ( he still has a bit balance problems) he is walking / talking and going to normal school
    Is it because if mainstream medicine ?

    No not exactly tins because of science science is always 10-15 years ahead of medicine….

    So Panama : I did and it gave a lot of gaines to my son event in school they’re noticed. He is starting to read (6 years old) he was struggling before to remember event letters.

    So in Panama we can find more parents testimonials on fb pages and with and good results…. not enough scientific proof for you? Parents testimonials ?

    But scientific proof is not always the reality !
    I live in France we have different medical system that USA and I can tell you haw many families do medical tourism in France :

    every year around 3000 families from France with desaibled children’s go abroad for therapies ! We organized association of parents /We contacted our new president Macron we contacted our different gouverneurs as well as local administrations in order to make changes in our medical system with all the lists of therapies parents use abroad and see : I participated actively in all actions 1 year ago just before elections of our president we got a lot of «  promises » but nothing was done in reality….

    So that what I thinks about mainstream medecin and mainstream doctors :

    I know
    Not all mainstream doctors are bad we have a lot of researcher doctors as well

    For example :
    My son had 5 heart operations ( it’s ablation of his WPW) wolf Parkinson’s wight syndrome it’s mainstream operation but in France 2 docors can’t made this operation sucsessfuly they did 3 operations here in France

    I had to find best doctor in world ( in Italy) he is professor and researcher in this domain : Rythmologie and his heart hospital have other technic 5 cateters ablation ( his name « Pappone ablation technique ») so he did finally successfull!

    Dr Park ( in USA) doing revolutionary technique of SDR operation for CP it’s literally changes life’s if cp children’s… and he is mainstream but researcher doctor….

    Dr Kurtzberg in Duke university doing just exceptional research for stem cells for CP children’s and for autism as well as dr Riordan doing research and treatments for deseases not juged treatable by FDA in USA ( si he established clinic outside USA because of legislation in USA so he is respected USA laws lol even if we can be not agreed with laws we have to respect them or change the country 😉

    Yuri Danilov in Wilsconine university doing fda tests and exceptional research fir PONS device cranial nerve non invasive neuromodulation.

    I can continue lol about LLLT research
    And much more 😉

    Dr Efrati fir example is a mainstream doctor 😉 he is working fir hospital but it’s the only case I think that hbot for neurological conditions started by him studying in hospital and with low pressures

    Others ( like dr Harch is privat hbot centers usually….)
    so why hbot is not taken seriously by mainstream doctors but naw only it’s started to change ?😉 mainstream hospital doctors from hbot started to make trails for neurology ( yes we have one such doctor in hospital in nice in france dr Gamain he did one trial for adults after stroke…. hopefully it will be recognized in 10-15 years ?????

    So I have to wait 10-15 years for hbot therapies and stem cells therapies will be approved before trying it?

    Who has to decide for child health gouvernement or his parents ?

  12. So this is enoth neutral ? And haw about freedom of speech ? It’s the roule For blogger

    So here pure my testimonials without links ok?

    • Ok, yes, this comment is more in line with the comment policy of this blog than your previous one that I did not post that contained false attacks, etc.

  13. To all of theses comments I say it’s easy to form opinions based on nothing you personally experience . For me and my Autistic daughter Panama stem cell institute has been a game changer . I am recovering my daughter from being trapped within herself and it is largely because she has had stem cell treatment .

    When she was diagnosed at 2.5 years old I started looking into the Stem cell idea but at the time there was very little information and few clinics offering the treatments . I was terrified to take my daughter out of the country without much information . Fast forward 4.5 years later , I happens across a medicalsimunar in Texas in which Dr Riordan was speaking about Stem cell treatment . After attending I decided to risk trying the treatment on my little girl . I was at a point where my concerns for her future were growing because Autism had a firm grasp on her in all aspects of all our lives . We book treatment and went 4 months later , and I’ve nevet regretted that decision and continue to treat her yearly as her results have been astounding.

    It’s irresponbile of you to speak on this subject without any first hand knowledge of what it can do for children . Parents are doing desperate things to change the path of their children’s future and stem cells and the Treatments Neil Riordan are preforming are nothing short of miraculous.

    My daughter at seven was largely trapped within herself . She could only speak 3-4 word utterances that we’re limited to her basic needs
    ie. I’m hungry , I need Potty , want an apple etc .
    She was extremely sensory and wore earphone to block out any loud sounds . Her diet consisted about 10 foods that didn’t cause her to vomit at the site or smell . And she was having bipolar outbursts that would last 45 minutes , of alternating laughing and fits of crying. At the onset of those fits I knew I needed to do something and stem cells made the most sense to me based on all the research I had done for the past 4.5 years .

    Only Days into the treatment Lexi responded to the stem cells . She woke up speaking to me in full sentences. We had our first real dialogue exchange in a hotel room in Panama and if it were only for that alone I would have been eternally greatful for choosing the treatment .
    Things for her improved at a rapid pace , she started responding to our facial expressions , and became more aware of her surroundings , she opened up to the world and took interest in actively participating in activists she would never do , ( boating, fishing , kayaking , tubing ) . She took her earphones off and has all but stopped covering her ears ( except when a baby cries ) .
    She started sampeling food off our plates and asking to try new things , She will now eat almost anything I put in front of her . She is excelling I’m school , has made friends and social connections and is developing skills which will allow her more self reliance . Her ATEC scores have dropped 53 points in the 3 years we have been having treatments . She is capable of expressing herself and her thoughts and feelings , something all children should have the ability to do .
    Lexis progress was so profound that we also took my non verbal Nephew for a treatment and within a few months he developed language and potty trained ( at 5.5yrs old ) . Both children have had life altering improvements based solely on the treatments they received at The Oanama stem cell Institute .
    Your comments about Neil Riordan and the Stem cell Institute are based on nothing but your need to fill up your blog page. Parents are desperate to help their children and your comments could easily deter them . Hope is all we have and many of us would give our own life for the hope of any future for our children .

    I refer every person I come in contact with that has a family member with Autism to the clinic . And to be completely honest , I don’t care what the reports say when they are released , it has been a huge success for 2 children in my life . I can see first hand and live the results .
    My little girl is now capable of saying “ I love you Mommy “ and having the emotional connection that goes along with it . We have hope that she will have a real and meaningful future after autism stole it .

    Neil Riordan is a man changing lives and I have the utmost respect and gratitude for him and his treatments .

  14. Admin on pro panama SCT page is encouraging parents to post postive comments here about panama. My conceren are for this parents that had regression or no gains after getting sct in panama, Who is speaking out for those kids?

    • @Fred,
      Thanks for the important heads up. Do you have a link to that pro panama SCT page?
      Good question re: the kids who didn’t have good, lasting outcomes.

  15. Indeed SCT has helped some kids but it’s odd that that admin of “stem cells therapy for autism” facebook page is asking parents to post postive experiences with panama clinic here. Why kids that did not respond to SCT are neglected? What is Safety/efficacy rate of SCT in Panama and what subtypes that it helps the most would be most critical information for any parent considering SCT for their kids. How come Dr. Roidern doesn’t address the efficay rate of SCT for autism in his book?

  16. My child has been to this clinic twice and went great severe non-verbal Autism to verbal with moderate Autism. He had major gains. It was worth every penny. His immune system lab results gave improved immensely as a result.

  17. This post from last year explains my skepticism about stem cells for autism generally.
    In a lot of ways it just doesn’t make sense to me that the for-profit approaches being sold out there both in the U.S. and elsewhere would really work.
    Maybe I’m wrong about this, but as far as I know there’s no good, rigorous medical proof that this work and I don’t believe in selling an unproven treatment, especially in the context of experimenting on kids.

  18. I’ll spare you reading the whole history of Laetrile, but this quote from the website that summarizes its history is worth reading in the context of the stem cell phenomenon. It will seem familiar. Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it.

    “As long as there remain crippling and fatal diseases, there will undoubtedly be individuals eager to offer “alternatives” to scientific treatment and large numbers of desperate individuals willing to purchase them. The Laetrile phenomenon started with a pharmacist-physician who developed one concoction after another for the treatment of serious diseases, especially cancer. It continued with his son, a self-imagined scientist, who spent many years in college but failed to earn any graduate degree. A man who earned his fortune from gun-running and a catholic newspaper columnist promoted it as a persecuted drug that cured cancer. A cadre of John Birch Society members saw the repression of Laetrile as a sinister plot against their basic freedoms. After it was dubbed “vitamin B-17,” an army of health food devotees promoted Laetrile, along with vitamins and diet, as nature’s answer to cancer.

    After peaking in the late 1970s, the “Laetrile Movement” ran out of steam in the wake of the Supreme Court decision, the NCI study, the death of Steve McQueen, and other unfavorable publicity. But as the Laetrile fantasy faded, its prime movers added many other “miracle cures” to their arsenal and added AIDS, arthritis, cardiovascular disease, and multiple sclerosis to the list of diseases they claim to treat. Although they appear to speak with sincerity, they still fail to sponsor the type of research which could persuade the scientific world that anything they offer is effective.”

  19. But many American researchers, he said, “seemed more interested in carefully studying the mechanism of how H. pylori produced stomach damage rather than driving straight in to treat people.”

    “The opposition we got from the drug industry was basically inertia,” said Dr. Barry J. Marshall of the University of Western Australia, the other Nobel winner, and “because the makers of H2 blockers funded much of the ulcer research at the time, all they had to do was ignore the Helicobacter discovery.”

    “If the drug companies were truly into discovery, they would have gone straight after the Helicobacter,” Dr. Marshall said, but they did not because of the success with H2 blockers.

    “Had these drugs not existed, the drug companies would have jumped on our findings,” he added.

    and from: http://discovermagazine.com/2010/mar/07-dr-drank-broth-gave-ulcer-solved-medical-mystery

    How did you get the word out about your discovery?
    I presented that work at the annual meeting of the Royal Australasian College of Physicians in Perth. That was my first experience of people being totally skeptical. To gastroenterologists, the concept of a germ causing ulcers was like saying that the Earth is flat. After that I realized my paper was going to have difficulty being accepted. You think, “It’s science; it’s got to be accepted.” But it’s not an absolute given. The idea was too weird.

    Then you and Robin Warren wrote letters to The Lancet.
    Robin’s letter described the bacteria and the fact that they were quite common in people. My letter described the history of these bacteria over the past 100 years. We both knew that we were standing at the edge of a fantastic discovery. At the bottom of my letter I said the bacteria were candidates for the cause of ulcers and stomach cancer.

    That letter must have provoked an uproar.
    It didn’t. In fact, our letters were so weird that they almost didn’t get published. By then I was working at a hospital in Fremantle, biopsying every patient who came through the door. I was getting all these patients and couldn’t keep tabs on them, so I tapped all the drug companies to request research funding for a computer. They all wrote back saying how difficult times were and they didn’t have any research money. But they were making a billion dollars a year for the antacid drug Zantac and another billion for Tagamet. You could make a patient feel better by removing the acid. Treated, most patients didn’t die from their ulcer and didn’t need surgery, so it was worth $100 a month per patient, a hell of a lot of money in those days. In America in the 1980s, 2 to 4 percent of the population had Tagamet tablets in their pocket. There was no incentive to find a cure.

    You published a synthesis of this work in The Medical Journal of Australia in 1985. Then did people change their thinking?
    No, it sat there as a hypothesis for another 10 years. Some patients heard about it, but gastroenterologists still would not treat them with antibiotics. Instead, they would focus on the possible complications of antibiotics. By 1985 I could cure just about everybody, and patients were coming to me in secret—for instance, airline pilots who didn’t want to let anyone know that they had an ulcer.

  20. Unfortunately ancedotal stories of improvement do not count as any kind of “proof” that unproven for-profit stem cell therapies are effective. That’s not how science works. Any doctor worth their weight who truly believes they have found an effective treatment for a disease will find a way to do a double blinded clinical study. If a doctor makes big claims, and fails to do this then I can only assume they are not to be trusted.

Leave a Reply