StemGenex in SoCal and stem cell marketing hype

This interesting article from today’s Los Angeles Times is about the La Jolla-based company StemGenex. I do know of some people in the MSA community and PD community who have contacted StemGenex about their stem cell “treatment.”

StemGenex’s director of media and community relations told the article’s author that the company’s “principal purpose is helping people with unmet clinical needs achieve optimum health and better quality of life,” and that it has “anecdotal feedback … from our patients that their symptoms have dramatically improved and their quality of life has substantially increased.”

The author, Michael Hiltzik, points out:

“But on its website, the group disavows any claim that ‘treatment using autologous stem cells [that is, cells drawn from the patient’s own body] are a cure for any condition, disease, or injury. ‘ It acknowledges that ‘stem cell therapy is not FDA approved and is not a cure for any medical condition,’ and that U.S. health insurance companies won’t cover the procedure, which costs $14,900.”

Mr. Holtzik has lots of negative things to say about StemGenex and its website.  He followed up with the company about its claim of accreditation as an outpatient surgical facility.  After his questions, the company removed that accreditation from its website.

The author reports that two researchers — Leigh Turner, University of Minnesota bioethicist, and Paul Knoepfler, UC Davis stem cell scientist — found 570 clinics involved in “stem cell tourism,” with “hot spots” in Southern California, Phoenix, New York, San Antonio, and Austin.  Researchers are very alarmed about what’s going on in clinics around the US.

Check out the full article here:

These new stem cell treatments are expensive — and unproven
LA Times
Michael Hiltzik, columnist
August 19, 2016