The Real Stem Cells of Beverly Hills?

They say a picture is worth a thousand words and with stem cell clinics and GoogleMaps, maybe it’s true.

When Leigh Turner and I published our stem cell clinic paper in Cell Stem Cell last year, Beverly Hills stood out as a top hot spot for these businesses selling non-FDA approved stem cells.

Beverly Hills Stem Cells

GoogleMaps results from “Stem Cells Beverly Hills” search

See the GoogleMap image from a search today above with the search terms, “Stem cells Beverly Hills”. According to GoogleMaps, just drive down Wilshire Boulevard through Beverly Hills and you could sample many of the stem cell businesses, some of which are just blocks from one another.

It’s like the stem cell direct-to-consumer epicenter of the universe.  

I’m not saying that everything or everyone listed in this map from GoogleMaps is a stem cell clinic, but many are. I recognize almost all of these entities, but I don’t recall Jian N. Ye as a stem cell provider.

There are so many entities on this map that Google couldn’t fit the names of all of them in there. There are also some others off the edge of this particular map but nearby. Continue reading

The Niche top posts of 2016

stem cell fireworksWhat were the top posts here on The Niche for the past year? I’ve listed some of them below along with some posts from 2015 that remain highly read.

Some top 2016 posts

2015 and older posts that remain highly read every day

The car shopping analogy for evaluating stem cell clinics

Patients contact me all the time these days asking about American stem cell clinics. The most common question boils down to “should I get a treatment at clinic X and what things should I think about in trying to make this decision?” I recommend checking out my stem cell treatment guide for patients.used-car-sales

In addition, you might consider an analogy to car shopping. I’ve found it is very helpful.

Buying a car is a much less serious decision than getting a stem cell therapy, but it is sometimes not taken as seriously from a practical point of view in terms of what goes into the decision making.

If you are going to buy a car ranging in price from say $10,000 (maybe a used Honda) up to $30,000 or even $50,000 or more for a car, you do your homework, right?

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South Africa grapples with “illegal” stem cell experiment scandal

dr-wian-standerSouth Africa is facing a stem cell scandal related to what a health policy news outlet called Spotlight there characterizes as illegal experiments by ReGenesis Biotechnologies, the company at the heart of the controversy. It had a contract with a governmental health provider agency, now apparently suspended.

The report begins this way: “The Medicines Control Council (MCC) this week suspended what appears to be unlawful stem cell experimentation at Pelonomi, a state hospital in Bloemfontein.”

However, there does not appear to be concrete data supporting safety and efficacy of the “treatments” in question. There were additional concerns over informed consent:

“MCC Chairperson Professor Helen Rees confirmed to Spotlight that inspectors had been to the Pelonomi site last Friday and again on Monday.

“Our concern was that the service level agreement made reference to medicines, injections and therapeutic research,” said Rees.

She said the informed consent documents referred to the patients giving permission for stem cell therapy, permission for stem cells to be removed, concentrated and re-injected and for their stem cells to be given to another person.”

The leader of the company was reported as Dr. Wian Stander.

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The stem cell hard sell: my new paper in Stem Cells Translational Medicine

stem cell hard sellI just published a paper in Stem Cells Translational Medicine on my experience traveling to and attending a stem cell clinic patient recruitment seminar.

It was an intense experience and one where I felt at risk. To some extent it is akin to going into the lion’s den. I didn’t know what reaction I would get if I were recognized by those running the seminar, which in fact did happen. They did not seem happy at all that I was there even though I wasn’t disruptive in the least. I had hoped to ask a few questions from my place in the audience, but the format did not allow it. Still I wondered if I could be kicked out. That didn’t happen.

I call these stem cell clinic seminars “infomercial” seminars because they remind me of hard sell pitches on TV.

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