September 26, 2020

The Niche

Knoepfler lab stem cell blog

Wild stem cell ad piggybacks off hyped ‘interstitium is new tissue’ pub

Union Tribune interstitium stem cell ad
Screenshot of Union Tribune interstitium stem cell ad.

Last year an odd pub  made the big claim that the interstitium is a new organ. I didn’t buy that.

Now an over-the-top stem cell advertisement that recently ran in the San Diego Union-Tribune (U-T) is piggybacking off of the supposed “interstitium as new tissue” claim to make all kinds of other claims about some mystery “stem cell” pill.

You can see a picture at left of the ad that a The Niche reader sent to me.

The word “cure” there is like a big neon sign translated to “buyer beware.” Yet, “Harvard, Stanford, and Columbia scientists are stunned…”


The product is called Primal X Plus and the headline suggests it’s a cure for old age. The actual smaller print content of this ad is all over the place and makes a bunch of other extreme claims.

A Dr. Al Sears is mentioned in the ad as a “world famous stem cell pioneer”.

Well, I’m not familiar with him, but you can read much more about him from a Google search. For instance,  check out a skeptic’s view (this from Dr. Harriet A. Hall) of his offerings here. Hall’s perspective on some past marketing seems to fit remarkably well with the recent stem cell-related ad in the U-T.

By the way, for background, the interstitium is a fluid-filled connective tissue space between different tissues and organs. It got oversold in my view as a new organ. It’s been known probably for centuries.

Unfortunately, the purveyors of questionable stem cell products are paying attention too and are advertising their dubious offerings like crazy these days. Sometimes they use and twist published science for their own advertising purposes.

The U-T ad reminds of the stem cell clinic ads that we see so often in mainstream media including The Sacramento Bee, but also on the web. The media outlets running these ads are doing so because they need revenue, but in that way in my view they are doing a potential disservice to the communities they serve.

So what else does the new U-T ad say?

It’s like different types of science and medicine along with certain buzz words got put in a blender and then poured out onto the page. The ad is lengthy and says a lot, but things don’t seem clear or tied together.

For instance, I don’t see how the interstitium has much to do with stem cells. I certainly wouldn’t call the interstitium a “stem cell organ.”

I also don’t see how this product has anything to do with New York School of Medicine, Stanford, or Harvard. It seems to me like a case of attempted prestige-by-association as though these top institutions somehow are behind the product.

Also, does Dr. Sears really have more than 500 scientific papers, as is claimed? If so, how are “scientific papers” defined? Peer-reviewed?

Then Dr. Oz is mentioned in the ad and also Suzanne Somers, who both have been associated with unproven alternative medicine. Ms. Somers has made a big deal out of the supposed power of stem cells as well. Note that more recently Dr. Oz has taken on stem cell clinics in a positive way.

Then aging NFL star Joe Namath is also mentioned in the ad. This Google search shows that Namath is really into alternative medicine kind of stuff lately.

I cannot imagine what’s actually in Primal X Plus being pitched in the ad, but in my view it’s unlikely to have much to do with stem cells or be helpful to people.

I wonder how much it costs.

Despite many mentions of “Clinical results” in the ad do these have anything to do with Primal X Plus?

I hope that readers of the U-T who saw the ad would not be taken in by the claims in it. However, some vulnerable people are likely to give it a try.

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