MAY 21, 2018 4:31 AM PDT

Not All Stem Cell Therapies Are Legit


Stem cells are often hailed as lifesaving supercells, the heroes of medicine and biology, able to transform and treat any disease, but the fact is they aren't approved for just anything. Unscrupulous medical providers often promote stem cell treatments for conditions like macular degeneration and osteoporosis. In one case a patient went blind because of an illegal stem cell treatment that was injected into her eye. In another example, stem cells injected into the spine of a patient caused a tumor to grow. The FDA regulates some stem cell treatments, and their website has a list of approved uses for stem cell therapy.

Currently, the only FDA approved use of stem cells is in bone marrow transplants for patients with specific forms of cancer. Still, many patients, if they have a particularly severe disease hear about stem cell clinics in other parts of the world and they seek treatment outside sanctioned medical trials. Insurance companies don't pay for treatments for anything that isn't approved by the FDA, so not only are some patients at medical risk, but they are also at risk of losing significant amounts of money for therapies that don't work. Wasting time and effort on junk medicine also keeps patients from getting proper care and can mean that their disease is too far progressed once they realize the stem cells were not legit.
About the Author
  • I'm a writer living in the Boston area. My interests include cancer research, cardiology and neuroscience. I want to be part of using the Internet and social media to educate professionals and patients in a collaborative environment.
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