Giostar stem cell clinic chain review, red flags, & lawsuit

Some unproven stem cell clinics like one called Giostar have multiple locations sprouting up. To me the concern with that spreading is the potential of multiplying risks to consumers. It can be hard to get a clear take on what these clinics are doing too.

What’s in this article

What is Giostar? | Giostar review | Is Giostar legitimate?Deven Patel & Anand Srivastava | More concerns | Lawsuit Complaint | Overall take homeReferences

The goal of today’s article is to give an overview and fact-check of Giostar. As a stem cell biologist who follows clinical efforts, I have major doubts about this firm’s offerings and claims. As we with other such firms I see several red flags but this company is unique in some ways.

GIOSTAR USA
GIOSTAR USA, Mexico location. 

What exactly is Giostar?

Giostar is a stem cell clinic chain selling unproven therapies. It has locations in India, Mexico, the US, and other countries. I use the word “unproven” for a reason here. As a stem cell biologist in my opinion there isn’t good clinical trial evidence to back up their offerings.

The company name is an acronym standing for “Global Institute of Stem Cell Therapy and Research.” In reading that I have to wonder: how much clinical research are they doing? Another name I see a lot is GIOSTAR USA.

While Giostar lists publications on their website, I don’t recognize some of the journals. Looking on Pubmed, I only see five publications listed for the firm. Pubmed doesn’t list some more obscure journals.

Giostar review: thumbs down

Publications can be a good thing. Most clinic’s have none. But as to Giostar, in my view their papers do not provide the kind of strong evidence needed to support use of cell therapies for specific conditions in people.

They sell several kinds of supposed treatments including MSCs or mesenchymal cells. I also see mention of umbilical cord mesenchymal cells. They market MSCs from bone marrow and blood. Claims are made for many health conditions.

A Clinicaltrials.gov search found no listings for Giostar. On the firm’s website they say they are gearing up for several trials via the FDA. They mention COVID, universal RBCs, diabetes, and a cancer vaccine. We’ll see if any of these appear later on Clinicaltrials.gov.

They have multiple US locations including San Diego and Chicago.

It’s not entirely clear what’s sold in the US vs. international locations. This makes it difficult to evaluate FDA compliance.

Perhaps their biggest news here in the US was that the FDA gave them a compassionate use clearance for stem cells for COVID-19. However, in my view the FDA more generally during that earlier period of the pandemic made some questionable decisions related to COVID-19 and cell therapies.  I wonder if politics played a role.

Is Giostar legitimate?

If you search for Giostar on Google, one of the “People also ask” questions the search engine puts near the top is this question about legitimacy. Somehow the stem cell promotion site Bioinformant is Google’s idea of the authorities there to answer the question. I’ve noted in past posts that Bioinformant promotes Giostar heavily on their website. They also promote other unproven clinics.

So what’s the answer to the legitimacy question? I guess it depends on your definition of legitimate. Overall, I don’t believe there is sufficient biomedical evidence that Giostar’s offerings are proven safe and effective. The data don’t even come close to the standard I’d want to see.

How much does Giostar cost? On the web I saw that Giostar cost ranges from $5,000-$18,000. The price tag likely depends on what you’re having done and at which clinic. So it could be a waste of money too.

Deven Patel & Anand Srivastava

Who is the leadership behind Giostar?

Deven Patel is the CEO and President of the firm. Anand Srivastava, MS, Ph.D. is the Chairman and CSO.

It seems that Patel and Srivastava co-founded the firm.

I don’t see any science or medicine-related background listed for Patel on the company website or elsewhere. It’s not that unusual for CEOs in the biotech world to be business people rather than scientists or physicians.

What about Srivastava? He was a visiting researcher at the Burnham institute from 2009-2012. He also apparently did a brief stint as a researcher at the Salk prior to going to the Burnham. This is all per the LA Times.

More concerns from LA Times

Speaking of which, Michael Hiltzik over at the LA Times also reported several concerns about Giostar and its leadership. From the piece:

“Now let’s turn to Srivastava’s credentials, which are the bedrock of Giostar’s assertion of stem-cell treatment leadership. Patel acknowledged in an email that some of Srivastava’s descriptions of his prior academic appointments have been exaggerated. They include his claims on the company website to have been an associate professor in the department of cellular and molecular biology at UCLA’s medical school, an associate professor at UC Irvine medical school, and an assistant professor at UC San Diego medical school.”

Hiltzik goes on to note other misstatements from Giostar in the past.

“Giostar has touted its relationship with prominent experts in stem-cell science in California and abroad. Among them are Evan Snyder, director of the Center for Stem Cells and Regenerative Medicine at the Sanford Burnham Prebys Medical Discovery Institute in La Jolla, and Ewa Carrier, an expert in blood and marrow transplantation formerly at UC San Diego. Both have been listed on Giostar’s website as members of its scientific and medical advisory board.

But both say they have no connection to Giostar and should never have been listed as board members.”

I see that as a big problem.

In a later LA Times article, Hiltzik also dinged the firm related to clinical trial claims and the compassionate use/expanded access program. From Hiltzik, “there doesn’t seem to be such a thing as a clinical trial conducted subject to the expanded access program.”

Giostar Lawsuit Complaint

My research found another reason for concern. A California customer filed suit against Giostar in 2020. The Giostar lawsuitMendez v. Global Institute of Stem Cell Therapy and Research USA et al., makes several allegations. Mendez is reportedly a cancer survivor. From the Classaction.org item discussing the legal complaint:

“According to the 42-page lawsuit, however, the plaintiff, who was 29 when she was diagnosed with the treatable form of cancer, took a preventable turn for the worse after the defendants administered stem cell treatment without first requiring the woman to undergo chemotherapy or radiation to kill the cancer cells, or properly matching injected cells with cells in the plaintiff’s body. The plaintiff claims that following treatment with the defendants, her cancer progressed from Stage II to Stage IV within months, leading a medical expert to inform the woman “it was unlikely she would survive for more than a year.”

Doing a Pacer court search, the case still seems to be pending. It was reassigned a couple of times to different judges. I’m not 100% sure though.

Overall take-home

Giostar is unlikely to live up to its claims about stem cell treatments.

There are also going to be risks.

Overall, in my view, the costs and risks aren’t worth it given the red flags and lack of data on the cells actually working.

References

6 thoughts on “Giostar stem cell clinic chain review, red flags, & lawsuit”

  1. Keep in mind Paul is not a medical doctor. I have spent extensive time researching this form of therapy and could not come across any negative outcome. On the form of therapy, or the clinic itself. The lawsuit he talks about was thrown out of court. In fact, they are using the same form of therapy currently being used in the Mayo Clinic study on MSA. It’s far as I’m concerned, any physician that is keeping this form of therapy from a human being likely going to die due to lack of treatment or in my case none at all is unethical at it’s very core. There are 197 countries on this planet. The FDA has control over one of them… This in no means make them the gatekeeper of all medicine on this planet. Drug companies have no money to be made through stem cell research… Likely a good explanation why decades has gone by and stem cell research and they are moving at a snails pace. In 2009 Barack Obama made stem cell research a lot easier here in the United States… 11 years later, why is stem cell therapy still limited to a few illnesses for the FDA. Another key point, isn’t it convenient that the FDA classifies human cell and tissue-based products as a drug simply because it is multiplied into high levels. I have MSA… I’ve been told I literally have five years to live. I find it highly Infuriating for a doctor to say in one breath your life expectancy and then in the next one ask if you’d like to be on a study where you could be A placebo for three of those years. Especially when Western medicine has absolutely no cure or treatment for this illness. Talk about the obese doctor telling the patient he has to lose weight…

    Do your own research…

  2. I found GioStar on FB, i inquired on their stems Cel for my bad knees. I then forgot about it but kept getting emails and texts. I finally decide to reach out to them and was told i was a good candidate for the procedure. But then, they said i would have to pay 1/2 of the $6600 up front and the other 1/2 after the procedure was done. I have to fly to Chicago, they provided estimate
    Estimate for patient: Frank Salazar

    GIOSTAR Location: Glenview IL

    Bone Marrow Aspiration Estimate: 3300

    IV Stem Cell Administration: INCLUDED

    Intra-Articular Stem Cell Administration: INCLUDED/UP TO 3 JOINTS/PRP INCLUDED

    Lab Processing Protocol: 3300

    Vitamin Therapy: INCLUDED, and GLUTATHIONE

    Oxygen Therapy: INCLUDED

    Total Price: 6600

    Notes: Bilateral Knee OA.
    This is an outpatient procedure that requires a 2-nite stay in town. All pre procedure tasks, including reserving your date, begin upon receipt of the 50% deposit (see DocuSign email).

    A light snack and drinks will be provided to you and your family members on the day of the procedure.

    We accept mastercard, visa, discover and amex. A 50% down payment is required at the time of booking. We also accept flexible spending accounts (FSA) or HSA.

    So, i did some research before i lay out $6600, I asked about any guarantees and how quickly i would see resalts? They said it would be immediate and full function or no pain and cure my Arthritis within 12/18 months.I find hard to believe that my orthotropic doctor didn’t mention this would be another option beside the options he had given.

  3. Viola Woodhouse

    Properly prepared Platelet Rich Plasma treatments work. There is enough evidence in the referee journals and well established clinics such as the Regenexx Centeno-Schultz Clinic in Broomfield, Colorado, USA, provide enough evidence by keeping and collecting stats of their patients and pursuing an ongoing research in the are of orthobiologics. It has a special laboratory to properly prepare the PRP and a sophisticated equipment (new fluoroscopy machine) to guide the injections.

    Most of the potential patients are not aware of the many differences in the equipment used to prepare the PRP and of course, of the genetic background of each individual person. Therefore, the call for standardization of this treatment remains unanswered and rightfully so. Other major difference is the actual doctor performing this procedure, his/her experience, approach and determination/ongoing education and research.

    Perfection in this area is required and so is honesty with patients who come as a last hope to be treated. One must not be hesitant to say that the particular treatment will not help in some cases despite the hope of the potential patient.

  4. 99% of clinics offering “stem cells” are using unethical marketing strategies to attract uninformed patients for bogus treatments that real scientists know do not work for the described ‘indication’. While the FDA has not approved any cellular therapies or biologics for ANY indication, many scientific studies have introduced legitimate evidence that for the appropriately selected orthopedic patient, properly prepared platelet rich plasma (PRP) and bone marrow concentrate (BMC) are efficacious in the treatment of catabolic knee conditions like osteoarthritis. Additional work is ongoing and essential to determine the most appropriate setting for these technologies.

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