Stem cell eye drops? Skepticism of American Academy of Stem Cell Physicians (AAOSCP)

AAOSCP meeting
Screenshot from AAOSCP meeting webpage
AAOSCP meeting
Screenshot from AAOSCP meeting webpage

I’ve been hearing more recently about something called the American Academy of Stem Cell Physicians (variously AAOSCP or AASCP).

Its name has the sound of an organization like some traditional medical academy such as the American Academy of Internal Medicine, but my sense is that this is a totally different kind of beast.

People have been asking me what’s the story with it. What is its mission?

I did find something akin to a mission scrolling down on their homepage:

“The American Academy of Stem Cell Physicians (AAOSCP) is an organization created to advance research and the development of therapeutics in regenerative medicine, including diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease related to or occurring within the human body. Secondarily, the AAOSCP aims to serve as an educational resource for physicians, scientists, and the public in diseases that can be caused by physiological dysfunction that are ameliorable to medical treatment.”

This sounds vaguely fine in theory, but what about in practice?

If you look at some of the people behind the organization at various times such as founders, scientific officers, and especially speakers at their conference, there are a number of familiar names and faces from the unproven stem cell clinic universe so to me that’s a potential red flag. I wondered: could this organization be focused at least in part on advancing for-profit stem cell clinic practices not supported by hard data and not working with the FDA?

A quick search on Twitter for AAOSCP found the main account tweeting about it is Bioinformant, a stem cell marketing research firm. You can see a tweet below about a ‘stem cell eyedrops” workshop from the organization. What the heck are stem cell eyedrops? I don’t know in this case, but after a quick look on the web to me personally that doesn’t sound like a good idea for patients. It could even potentially be an unapproved drug product. I don’t know. There are some researchers trying to make stem cell eye drops that could be a legit thing, but in my opinion this ASOSCP thing doesn’t seem like that.

Overall, I for one am highly skeptical that AAOSCP promotes science-based stem cell and regenerative medicine that is in best interest of patients.

In my view, we need more organizations that really do focus on advancing rigorous regenerative medicine in practical ways such as through proper physician training. I proposed five years ago that there should be actual formal fellowships in stem cells and regenerative medicine for physicians that are science-based, but I haven’t seen that yet. Maybe AAOSCP will change over time or already is. We’ll see.

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