Archive for the ‘Stem Cell Clinics’ Category

FDA Wants To Tighten The Screws On Stem Cell Clinics …

Stem Cell Clinics | Posted by admin
Dec 24 2018

By Emily Bazar September 12, 2016

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is proposing to get tougher on clinics that offer unapproved stem cell therapies, and is hosting a critical public hearing on the issue Monday and Tuesday in Bethesda, Md.

A study published recently in the journal Cell Stem Cell found that 570 clinics across the country are offering pricey stem cell treatments for both cosmetic and medical purposes. The clinics claim to treat a wide variety of problems, from spinal cord injuries to autism.

Authors Leigh Turner of the University of Minnesota and Paul Knoepfler of the University of California, Davis identified 113 such clinics in California alone, the most of any state.

There are clear grounds for concern that some of the companies we found are not compliant with federal regulations, they wrote.

Many of these clinics say they use stem cells derived from patients own fat. They argue their treatments are exempt from the agencys rigorous approval process because the fat cells are minimally manipulated and shouldnt be classified as drugs subject to FDA regulation.

But late last year, the FDA sent a warning letter to a doctor saying that the processing of fat cells in his clinics, including one in California, would not meet the definition of minimal manipulation and his product was therefore considered a drug that required agency approval.

Nearly 100 stem cell clinics, doctors, researchers and organizations plan to testify at the hearing about these issues.

California Healthline interviewed three participants, with divergent views, all California-based experts whose professional lives revolve around stem cell science.

Jeanne Loring is a professor and stem cell researcher at The Scripps Research Institute in La Jolla. She supports tighter FDA controls.

Elliot Lander is co-medical director and co-founder of Cell Surgical Network, a Rancho Mirage, California-based group comprising about 100 stem cell clinics, most of them in the U.S. He is wary of the FDAs plan for more regulation.

C. Randal Mills is CEO of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, the states stem cell agency, based in Oakland. He calls for a middle ground between the FDAs strict approval process and total exemption from that process.

The transcript below has been edited for length and clarity.

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FDA Wants To Tighten The Screws On Stem Cell Clinics ...

Meet Our Doctors – Rejuva Stem Cell Clinic

Stem Cell Clinics | Posted by admin
Dec 24 2018

Dr.KarenVieira has a Ph.D. in Biomedical Sciences from the Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology at the University Of Florida College Of Medicine, a Master of Science in Management and a Bachelor of Science in Molecular Biology. She has worked in hospitals and clinics conducting clinical research with patients, as well as in biotechnology laboratories, researching the biochemistry and molecular biology of the body, animals and even micro-organisms.This involved both mouse and human stem cell research.

Additionally, she worked in the food industry with the largest food company in America whereshe researched food and supplement ingredients for a variety of health conditions. While there, she also started a comprehensive cell culture research project, a first of its kind there, discovering and prioritizing novel and emerging food ingredients for health and wellness using cell culture studies.

Karenis the owner of The Med Writers, a company specializing in writing and consulting in the food, supplement, biotech, pharma and stem cellindustries.Her passion is discovering existing research on dietary and lifestyle changes, plus non-pharmaceutical and non-surgical methods,that prevent, cure or improve various health conditions. Not only does she have knowledge on healthy living, but she personally lives it, inspiring others to do the same.Having experienced the power of stem cell injections personally, she is an advocate for stem cells to boost health.

Most importantly, she has the rare ability to explain the findings of medical research studies in an easy-to-understand way so that anyone can instantly get it. Her knack for explaining things gives listeners and readers simple steps on how to apply and use the knowledge in their own life to improve their health. For these reasons and more, Dr. Vieira is currently a popular author, speaker and consultant in the health and wellness industry.

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Meet Our Doctors - Rejuva Stem Cell Clinic

What Stem Cell Clinics Do You Trust? | BioInformant

Stem Cell Clinics | Posted by admin
Nov 05 2018

Stem cell clinics have received a great deal of negativepress,with prominent media outlets announcing that the FDA mailed Warning Letters to stem cell clinics across the United States.According to a paper published in the journalCell Stem Cell in June 2016,at least 351 businesses offer unproven stem cell interventions fromclinics spread across the U.S.

Shortly after publication, the MIT Technology Reviewand Washington Postpicked up the story, spreading the fear far and wide.Journalists then got enthralled with the story, calling it the Wild West of stem cells.

But, is this the whole story?

In this article:

What this hype does not cover isthe promising medical potentialof stem celltherapies, nor has it properly credited the clinics that comply with FDA regulations to offer effective medical treatments to populations of patients who, otherwise have limited options.

Today, the large majority of medical clinics that offer stem cell treatments administer mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), which they source from fat (adipose tissue) orbone marrow.

Mesenchymal stem cells are a type of multipotent stem cell that is administered for a range of medical applications, including orthopedic repair, pain management, arthritis, asthma, and more.

When properly administered, multipotent self-derived stem cells (such as MSCs) can be safe for patient use.

It is important that the cells be multipotent (limited in their differentiation capacity), rather than totipotent (can become any cell) or pluripotent (can become most cells). There is also an additional level of safety that comes from having the stem cells be self-derived, which doctors and scientists call autologous.

Stem cell differentiation capacity is explained below:

While it is true that many stem cell clinics are not properly regulated, the therapeutic promise of stem cells is also clear.

Today, nearly 30,000 scientific publicationshighlight research and therapeutic advanceswith mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) and approximately850+ clinical trials are investing therapeutic uses of MSCs.

Additionally, 300,000+ scientific publications about stem cells have been released.

This momentum is not surprising, because We are not made of drugs, we are made of cells.

However, the biggest issue with the hype surrounding stem cell clinics is that it does not give proper credit to the companies that cooperate with regulatory bodiesto ensure a safe and efficacious patient experience. Many of these companies also collaborate withoffshore regulatory bodies to offer stem cell procedures approved by local regulatory agencies.

The FDAsCenter for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER)regulates human cell and tissue-based products in the U.S., known as HCT/Ps. The FDA has two different paths for cell therapies based on relative risk.

These pathways are commonly called 361 and 351 products.

The 361 products that meet all the criteria in 21 CFR 1271.10(a)are regulated as HCT/Ps and are not required to be licensed or approved by the FDA. These products are called 361 products because they are regulated under Section 361 of the Public Health Service (PHS) Act.

In contrast, if a cell therapy product doesnot meet all the criteria outlined in 21 CFR 1271.10(a)), then it is regulated as a drug, device, or biological product under the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) and Section 351 of the PHS Act.[1]

These 351 products requireclinical trials to demonstrate safety and efficacy in a process that is nearly identical to that what is required for pharmaceutical products to enter the marketplace.

Stem cell clinics must ensure that their treatments meet the FDAs criteria to be classified as 361 products.

Below, we cover five leading stem cell clinics. Each one has treated large populations of patients with adult stem cells. At least one (Regenexx), is maintaining a Patient Registry to document long-term patient outcomes.

We are not advising patients to seek treatments from these companies.We are identifying them to allow readers to seek out more information.

Founded by Dr. Neil Riordan, a globally recognized stem cell expert and visionary, the Stem Cell Institute in Panama is among the worlds leaders in stem cell research and therapy. Their treatments focus on well-targeted combinations of allogeneic umbilical cord stem cells, as well as autologous bone marrow stem cells.

The clinic uses stem cell therapies to treat various ailments, including spinal cord injury (SCI), rheumatoid arthritis, heart failure, osteoarthritis, multiple sclerosis, autoimmune diseases, and genetic disorders, such as autism and cerebral palsy.

One of their most recent studies exhibited the clinical feasibility of stem cell therapy as a safe and effective treatment approach for patients with multiple sclerosis (MS). Published in the Journal of Translational Medicine, the study showed that umbilical cord stem cells can slow down MS disease progression and decrease the frequency of flare-ups.

However, these stem cells did not exhibit the ability to repair damaged nerve cells or myelin sheaths.

After the completion of this clinical study, there was an improvement in MS patient disability. The 1-month mark of the study documented improvements in mobility, hand, bladder, bowel, and sexual functions. Importantly, the study demonstrated that a sustained one-year umbilical cord stem cell therapy has more durable benefits than current MS drug therapies.

Headquartered in Denver, CO, Regenexx offers self-derived (autologous) same-day stem cell treatments to patients with orthopedic injuries and conditions. Regenexx clinicsincorporate a variety of regenerative approaches, drawing patients from all over the U.S. who are seeking innovative, non-surgical treatments.

TheRegenexx technologyinvolvesa procedure in whicha small bone marrow sample is extracted through a needle and a blood is drawn from a vein in the arm. These samples are then processed in a laboratory and the cells it contains injected into the area needing repair, with the goal of delivering large numbers of stem cells to the site of injury.

Regenexx also a licensedoffshore clinic in the Cayman Islands where patients can undergo treatments that utilize laboratory expanded (ex vivo) stem cell populations. This approach allows for a much larger number of stem cells to be administered to the patient that is supported by U.S. law, which currently prohibits laboratory procedures that the FDA considers to exceed minimal manipulation.

Dr. Christopher Centeno is the Founder and CEO of Regenexx. He is a global authority in the culture expansion and clinical use of adult stem cells to treat orthopedic injuries and thevisionary behind the Regenexx technology.

I am also a Regenexx patient.Click here to read my experience.

Founded in 2011,Okyanosis a stem cell therapy provider that specializes in treating patients with congestive heart failure (CHF) and other chronic degenerative conditions. Okyanos Cell Therapy uses internationally-approved technology to deliver a mixed population of fat (adipose) derived stem and regenerative cells (ADRCs) to patients with conditions such as cardiovascular disease, orthopedic issues, neurological disorders, urological indications, and autoimmune conditions.

Okyanos maintains both a North American Office in Clearwater, FLand a purpose-built Cell Therapy Surgical Center inFreeport, GrandBahama. Okyanos stem cell treatments are performed in their state-of-the-art surgical centers under the care of board-certified doctors.

Okyanos is also fully licensed and regulated under the Bahamas Stem Cell Therapy and Research Act, and adheres to U.S. surgical center standards.

Click here to access our recent interview withMatthew Feshbach, Co-Founder and CEO of Okyanos.

The Global Institute of Stem Cell Therapy and Research (GIOSTAR) provides adult stem cell for autologous and allogeneic stem cell therapy to patients around the world, based on research byDr. Anand Srivastava. It offers adult stem cells for rejuvenation treatment, muscular injuries and degenerative diseases.

Each of GIOSTARs clinics is licensed for the application of stem cell therapy.Since 2000, its team of scientist and clinicians have been involved in the development and utilization of stem cell-based clinical protocols for stem cell therapy.

Although the company is headquartered in San Diego, California, GIOSTAR Mexico has provided stem cell therapy to patients from all over the world. Mexicos regulation of stem cell therapeutics differs from the regulations imposed by the U.S. FDA, making it a growing site for medical tourism.

Celltex specializes in cryopreserving mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs) for therapeutic use. Celltex acquires stem cells by collecting a small fat sample from a patient, from which MSCs are extracted,isolated, multiplied and stored for future use (known as cell banking).

Patients can then use their stored stem cells for regenerative purposesthrough infusions or injections performed by a licensed physician.

Because the FDA considers an individuals stem cells a drug if they have been expanded in large quantities, Celltex has begun the process of undertaking clinical trialsin which itwill seek approval from the FDA to provide stem cells for use by physicians in the U.S. to treat a variety ofmedical conditions.

Nonetheless, to meet the immediate needs of its clients, Celltex has takensteps to comply with the regulations established by the FDA and COFEPRIS, the Mexican equivalent of the FDA for exporting and importing MSCs.

Celltex also works with established, certified hospitals in Mexico, where independent, licensed physicians make it possible for Celltexs cell-banking clients to receive their own cells for therapeutic purposes.

While the information above is important to understand from a scientific and regulatory perspective, patient experiences are valuable too.

Have you had a stem cell treatment? What stem cell clinic did you use? What treatment did you get and for what condition?

Share your answers in the comments below, so that other patients can make more informed decisions.

BioInformant is the first and only market research firm to specialize in the stem cell industry. BioInformant research has been cited by major news outlets that include the Wall Street Journal, Nature Biotechnology, Xconomy, and Vogue Magazine. Serving Fortune 500 leaders that include GE Healthcare, Pfizer, and Goldman Sachs. BioInformant is your global leader in stem cell industry data.

Footnotes [1] (2017). Cellular Therapies. [online] Available at: [Accessed 1 Aug. 2017].

What Stem Cell Clinics Do You Trust?

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Stem cell laws – Wikipedia

Stem Cell Clinics | Posted by admin
Oct 17 2018

Stem cell laws are the law rules, and policy governance concerning the sources, research, and uses in treatment of stem cells in humans. These laws have been the source of much controversy and vary significantly by country.[1] In the European Union, stem cell research using the human embryo is permitted in Sweden, Spain, Finland, Belgium, Greece, Britain, Denmark and the Netherlands;[2] however, it is illegal in Germany, Austria, Ireland, Italy, and Portugal. The issue has similarly divided the United States, with several states enforcing a complete ban and others giving support.[3] Elsewhere, Japan, India, Iran, Israel, South Korea, China, and Australia are supportive. However, New Zealand, most of Africa (except South Africa), and most of South America (except Brazil) are restrictive.

The information presented here covers the legal implications of embryonic stem cells (ES), rather than induced pluripotent stem cells (iPSCs). The laws surrounding the two differ because while both have similar capacities in differentiation, their modes of derivation are not. While embryonic stem cells are taken from embryoblasts, induced pluripotent stem cells are undifferentiated from somatic adult cells.[4]

Stem cells are cells found in most, if not all, multi-cellular organisms. A common example of a stem cell is the hematopoietic stem cell (HSC) which are multipotent stem cells that give rise to cells of the blood lineage. In contrast to multipotent stem cells, embryonic stem cells are pluripotent and are thought to be able to give rise to all cells of the body. Embryonic stem cells were isolated in mice in 1981, and in humans in 1998.[5]

Stem cell treatments are a type of cell therapy that introduce new cells into adult bodies for possible treatment of cancer, somatic cell nuclear transfer, diabetes, and other medical conditions. Cloning also might be done with stem cells. Stem cells have been used to repair tissue damaged by disease.[6]

Because Embryonic Stem (ES) cells are cultured from the embryoblast 45 days after fertilization, harvesting them is most often done from donated embryos from in vitro fertilization (IVF) clinics. In January 2007, researchers at Wake Forest University reported that "stem cells drawn from amniotic fluid donated by pregnant women hold much of the same promise as embryonic stem cells."[5]

The European Union has yet to issue consistent regulations with respect to stem cell research in member states. Whereas Germany, Austria, Italy, Finland, Ireland, Portugal and the Netherlands prohibit or severely restrict the use of embryonic stem cells, Greece, Sweden, Spain and the United Kingdom have created the legal basis to support this research.[7]Belgium bans reproductive cloning but allows therapeutic cloning of embryos.[1]France prohibits reproductive cloning and embryo creation for research purposes, but enacted laws (with a sunset provision expiring in 2009) to allow scientists to conduct stem cell research on imported a large amount of embryos from in vitro fertilization treatments.[1]Germany has restrictive policies for stem cell research, but a 2008 law authorizes "the use of imported stem cell lines produced before May 1, 2007."[1]Italy has a 2004 law that forbids all sperm or egg donations and the freezing of embryos, but allows, in effect, using existing stem cell lines that have been imported.[1]Sweden forbids reproductive cloning, but allows therapeutic cloning and authorized a stem cell bank.[1][7]

According to modern stem cell researchers, Spain is one of the leaders in stem cell research and currently has one of the most progressive legislations worldwide with respect to hESC research.[8] The new Spanish law allows existing frozen embryos - of which there are estimated to be tens of thousands in Spain - to be kept for patient's future use, donated for another infertile couple, or used in research.[9] In 2003, Spain's laws state that embryos left over from IVF and donated by the couple that created them can be used in research, including ES cell research, if they have been frozen for more than five years.[10]

In 2001, the British Parliament amended the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 1990 (since amended by the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Act 2008) to permit the destruction of embryos for hESC harvests but only if the research satisfies one of the following requirements:

The United Kingdom is one of the leaders in stem cell research, in the opinion of Lord Sainsbury, Science and Innovation Minister for the UK.[11] A new 10 million stem cell research centre has been announced at the University of Cambridge.[12]

The primary legislation in South Africa that deals with embryo research is the Human Tissue Act, which is set to be replaced by Chapter 8 of the National Health Act. The NHA Chapter 8 has been enacted by parliament, but not yet signed into force by the president. The process of finalising these regulations is still underway. The NHA Chapter 8 allows the Minister of Health to give permission for research on embryos not older than 14 days. The legislation on embryo research is complemented by the South African Medical Research Council's Ethics Guidelines. These Guidelines advise against the creation of embryos for the sole purpose of research. In the case of Christian Lawyers Association of South Africa & others v Minister of Health & others[13] the court ruled that the Bill of Rights is not applicable to the unborn. It has therefore been argued based on constitutional grounds (the right to human dignity, and the right to freedom of scientific research) that the above limitations on embryo research are overly inhibitive of the autonomy of scientists, and hence unconstitutional.[14]

China prohibits human reproductive cloning but allows the creation of human embryos for research and therapeutic purposes.[1]India banned in 2004 reproductive cloning, permitted therapeutic cloning.[1] In 2004, Japans Council for Science and Technology Policy voted to allow scientists to conduct stem cell research for therapeutic purposes, though formal guidelines have yet to be released.[1] The South Korean government promotes therapeutic cloning, but forbids cloning.[1] The Philippines prohibits human embryonic and aborted human fetal stem cells and their derivatives for human treatment and research. In 1999, Israel passed legislation banning reproductive, but not therapeutic, cloning.[1][7]Saudi Arabia religious officials issued a decree that sanctions the use of embryos for therapeutic and research purposes.[1] According to the Royan Institute for Reproductive Biomedicine, Iran has some of the most liberal laws on stem cell research and cloning.[15][16] Laws and regulations in Jordan allow stem-cell research.[17] A center for stem cell research has acquired a license to begin operating in April 2017 at the University of Jordan.[18]

Brazil has passed legislation to permit stem cell research using excess in vitro fertilized embryos that have been frozen for at least three years.[1]

Federal law places restrictions on funding and use of hES cells through amendments to the budget bill.[19] In 2001, George W. Bush implemented a policy limiting the number of stem cell lines that could be used for research.[5] There were some state laws concerning stem cells that were passed in the mid-2000s. New Jersey's 2004 S1909/A2840 specifically permitted human cloning for the purpose of developing and harvesting human stem cells, and Missouri's 2006 Amendment Two legalized certain forms of embryonic stem cell research in the state. On the other hand, Arkansas, Indiana, Louisiana, Michigan, North Dakota and South Dakota passed laws to prohibit the creation or destruction of human embryos for medical research.[19]

During Bush's second term, in July 2006, he used his first Presidential veto on the Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act. The Stem Cell Research Enhancement Act was the name of two similar bills, and both were vetoed by President George W. Bush and were not enacted into law. New Jersey congressman Chris Smith wrote a Stem Cell Therapeutic and Research Act of 2005, which made some narrow exceptions, and was signed into law by President George W. Bush.

In November 2004, California voters approved Proposition 71, creating a US$3 billion state taxpayer-funded institute for stem cell research, the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine. It hopes to provide $300 million a year.

Barack Obama removed the restriction of federal funding passed by Bush in 2001, which only allowed funding on the 21 cell lines already created. However, the Dickey Amendment to the budget, The Omnibus Appropriations Act of 2009, still bans federal funding of creating new cell lines. In other words, the federal government will now fund research which uses the hundreds of more lines created by public and private funds.[20]

In March 2002, the Canadian Institutes of Health Research announced the first ever guidelines for human pluripotent stem cell research in Canada. The federal granting agencies, CIHR, Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council, and Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada teamed up and agreed that no research with human IPSCs would be funded without review and approval from the Stem Cell Oversight Committee (SCOC).[21]

In March 2004, Canadian parliament enacted the Assisted Human Reproduction Act (AHRA), modeled on the United Kingdoms Human Fertilization and Embryology Act of 1990. Highlights of the act include prohibitions against the creation of embryos for research purposes and the criminalization of commercial transactions in human reproductive tissues.[22]

In 2005, Canada enacted a law permitting research on discarded embryos from in vitro fertilization procedures. However, it prohibits the creation of human embryos for research.[1]

On June 30, 2010, The Updated Guidelines for Human Pluripotent Stem Cell Research outline that:

Canada's National Embryonic Stem Cell Registry:

Australia is partially supportive (exempting reproductive cloning yet allowing research on embryonic stem cells that are derived from the process of IVF). New Zealand, however, restricts stem cell research.[23]

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Stem cell laws - Wikipedia

FDA: Florida Stem Cell Clinic Violates Law | Health News Florida

Stem Cell Clinics | Posted by admin
Sep 15 2018

A South Florida clinic that promotes controversial stem-cell treatments for a wide range of ailments is among the centers receiving a written warning that it is violating federal public health laws.

The U.S Food and Drug Administrations letter was addressed to Dr. Thomas A. Gionis, owner and chief surgeon of the Miami Stem Cell Treatment Center located in Boca Raton. Gionis also owns a stem cell treatment center in Irvine, Calif.

The letter shows that a third Gionis clinic in New York City apparently closed after FDA inspections of all three clinics was carried out from July through September 2015.

Dr. Gionis facilities are among more than 170 clinics across the country that are selling experimental stem cell procedures for dozens of diseases and conditions a mushrooming industry that has flourished despite little evidence of its safety or effectiveness.

Descriptions on the website say that Dr. Gionis and other practitioners inject or infuse a liquid that is said to contain stem cells derived from the patients own fat tissue, removed through liposuction. The clinic lists a large number of illnesses for which it says the treatments are appropriate, including: heart and lung disease, stroke, multiple sclerosis, spinal disc disease and auto-immune problems like lupus.

And his clinics are not the only ones operating in Florida. Internet search indicates this type of stem-cell treatment is available at clinics in Jacksonville, Orlando, St. Petersburg, Sunrise and a number of other sites throughout the state.

The rise of the U.S. stem cell industry illustrates how quickly fringe medicine can outpace government oversight. Over the last five years, academic stem cell researchers say they have watched in dismay as doctors treat patients with experimental techniques that they say could take years, if not decades, to become sound medicine.

"It's sort of this 21st century cutting-edge technology. But the way it's being implemented at these clinics and how it's regulated is more like the 19th century. It's a Wild West," says Dr. Paul Knoepfler, a stem cell researcher at the University of California at Davis.

The FDA letter to Dr. Gionis, dated Dec. 30, provides some insight into how the FDA is addressing the issue. In difficult-to-parse language, it says that the substance that Gionis is processing and injecting amounts to a drug that has not been approved for safety and usefulness.

The writer, Mary Malarkey, director of an office in the FDAs Center for Biologics and Research, says that if Gionis maintains his treatments are part of a clinical trial, as his website suggests, he would need to submit an Investigational New Drug (IND) application to FDA.

The FDA official says an earlier defense by the clinic that the chemical used in the mixture has been changed doesnt make it acceptable without more information.

Health News Florida was not able to reach Dr. Gionis on Monday, but left a message with his staff.

The Associated Press reported last May that entrepreneurial ventures using fat-derived stem cells have proliferated throughout the country. Scientists engaged in authorized stem-cell research said states have not stepped up to regulate the ventures and called on FDA to do so.

The FDA has scheduled a public hearing for April on draft guidelines for fat-derived stem-cell treatments that the agency released a few months ago. That led some to mistakenly think the treatments are being subjected to new regulations, said FDA spokeswoman Sarah Peddicord. She said the regulations went into effect in 2005.

The law has not changed, she said. What the agency released are guidelines that FDA hopes will help the industry and the public understand the law.

People need to understand how to implement the regulations, she said. The guidelines are just to explain the regulations.

Stem cells have long been recognized for their ability to reproduce and regenerate tissue. And while there are high hopes that they will someday be used to treat a range of debilitating diseases, critics say stem cell entrepreneurs have little more than anecdotes to support their offerings.

In 2010, there were only a handful of doctors promoting stem cell procedures in the U.S., mainly plastic surgeons promoting "stem cell facelifts" and other cosmetic procedures. But today there are clinics throughout the country promoting stem cells for dozens of conditions and diseases, including Alzheimer's, arthritis, erectile dysfunction and hair loss. The cost of these procedures is high, ranging from $5,000 to $20,000.

Many of the businesses are linked in large, for-profit chains which offer doctors the chance to join the franchise after taking a seminar and buying some equipment.

The largest of these chains is the Cell Surgical Network, co-founded in 2012 by Dr. Mark Berman, who spent 30 years as a Beverly Hills plastic surgeon before working with stem cells. His company offers stem cell procedures for more than 30 diseases and conditions, including Lou Gehrig's disease, multiple sclerosis and arthritis.

He and his partner adapted technology from Asia into a liposuction-based procedure in which fat is pumped out of patients' abdomen, processed with drugs and equipment and then injected back into the body.

Berman says this fat-based "soup," is rich in shape-shifting stem cells that have the potential to treat everything from neurological diseases to achy joints.

"I don't even know what's in the soup," says Berman. "Most of the time, if stem cells are in the soup, then the patient's got a good chance of getting better."

The clinics insist that their treatments are safe, but routinely require that patients sign waivers.

Patients of Dr. Zannos Grekos, a Florida cardiologist specializing in stem cell therapy, were also required to sign a consent form, acknowledging the procedures' risks, including death.

But families of two Grekos patients who died under his care say he downplayed the risks. Gina Adams, daughter of patient Richard Poling, says her family was told her father would be "back on the golf course the next day" after a procedure intended to treat a lung condition that made breathing difficult. The cost was $8,000.

In March 2012, Grekos harvested fat from Poling's abdomen and sent it to an off-site processing facility to isolate the stem cells. Later that afternoon, he directed an assistant to infuse the resulting mixture into the patient's bloodstream.

Poling suffered cardiac arrest and was pronounced dead after being rushed to a local hospital.

Two years earlier, in 2010, 69-year old Domenica Fitzgerald suffered a stroke after Grekos infused unfiltered bone marrow-derived stem cells into the arteries of her brain. The state report concluded "it was virtually inevitable that the procedure would clog blood vessels in the brain and cause a major and very possibly fatal stroke." Fitzgerald suffered severe brain damage and was removed from life support several days later.

Jack Fitzgerald says his wife, who used a wheel chair, had hoped that stem cells might help her walk again.

Not until 2013, after Poling's death, did the Florida Board of Medicine vote to revoke Grekos' license.

Though barred from practicing medicine in Florida, Grekos continues to treat patients in the Dominican Republican through his company Regenocyte, which promotes treatments for autism, dementia and many other diseases.

He believes the two deaths were unrelated to his care the state targeted him to discourage other doctors from working with stem cells, he says.

State actions against stem cell doctors are rare. That's led industry critics to conclude that regulation must come from the FDA, which regulates medical products on a national level.

But the FDA's authority to regulate stem cell procedures is not clearly defined and has been debated by legal experts for years.

Now, the FDA appears to be stepping up its oversight. In the last days of 2014, it released draft guidelines dealing with the popular fat-based stem cell technique. The agency said that processing fat to extract stem cells for medical use essentially creates a new drug, which cannot be sold in the U.S. without the agency's approval.

But many stem cell doctors continue to argue that they don't need FDA permission because they are not creating drugs, but performing in-office surgical procedures.

For now, Berman says he has no plans to change his business.

"How is it unethical if you're actually helping people, even if we don't have evidence-based studies to prove it?" he asks.

Carol Gentry is a special correspondent for WUSF in Tampa. Health News Florida receives support from the Corporation for Public Broadcasting.

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FDA: Florida Stem Cell Clinic Violates Law | Health News Florida

Patients guide to treatments – The Niche

Stem Cell Clinics | Posted by admin
Jul 14 2018

Updated for 2016. Top 10 list of important, easy to understand facts for patients about stem cell clinic treatments.

For better or worse, I am in the unique position of being a stem cell scientist and also a former cancer patient. Looking on the bright side this gives me a unique perspective on things compared to many of my colleagues.

I know there are thousands of people out there looking for more practical information about stem cell therapies and treatments. These folks understandably are using the Internet to look for some clear, good info on stem cell treatments either for themselves or their loved ones. Too often the info that is out there is either wrong, partially misleading, biased, or overly complex.

So in this post I want to address this need for trustworthy factual information and no-nonsense perspectives. I am speaking as a scientist, patient advocate and cancer survivor in the form of 10 key realties list belowto help you guide your way through the jungle of stuff out there about stem cells. As mentioned above, I have now updated this post for 2016 as some things have changed in big waysin just the past few years.Keep in mind this is not medical advice and you should absolutely talk to your personal doctor with whom you should make your own decisions.

1) Stem cells are often essentially a type of drug and possibly permanent in your body after a transplant.Yeah, stem cells can be extremely unusual drugs, but they are often drugs even if some argue they arent. The FDA considers them drugs in many cases. Unlike other drugs, once a patient receives a stem cell drug, it will not necessarily simply go away like other drugs because a stem cell drug consists of living cells that often behave in unpredictable ways. What this means is if the stem cells are doing bad things your doctor has no way to stop it. You have no way to stop it. Also because stem cells are alive they can grow inside your body, move around, and change. This can be helpful or harmful, but the big point is that it is not something that is controllable or reversible.

2) Side effects.Like any medical product, even aspirin,stem cells treatments will have side effects. Not maybe. Definitely. Our hope is the side effects will be relatively mild. Different kinds of stem cells have variable risk profiles, but if someone tells you that the stem cell treatment they are selling has no risks then that is a big red flag and I would walk away. They are either woefully lacking in knowledge or arent being honest with you. Sometimes clinics will either on their websites or in person acknowledge risks almost as sort of a disclaimer, but then theyll tell more casually that there arent really any risks. A common statement is The only risk is that it wont work. Thats false.

3)The only stem cell treatment explicitly approved by the FDA for use in the U.S. consists of versions of bone marrow/hematopoietic stem cell transplantation.What this means is that any other stem cell treatment you see advertised on Facebook or Google or elsewhere that indicates it will be given to you inside the U.S. is not FDA approved. The exceptions to this are if it is part of an FDA-approved clinical trial or it is using stem cells in a procedure that meets other criteria (e.g. being both homologous use and minimally manipulatedyeah I know these are jargon terms).

4)If you venture outside the U.S. for a stem cell treatment, use extra caution, but in 2016 also be very careful inside the U.S.Whether you travel abroad or closer to home, have a knowledgeable physician inside the U.S. guiding you, preferably your primary care doctor who mot often are not going to buy into hype. We have to avoid the trap of thinking that only the U.S. can offer advanced medical treatments and these days many American patients get their stem cell transplants here in the U.S. from dubious clinics.

5)Stem cells are not a cure-all.I am as excited as anybody about the potential of stem cells to treat a whole bunch of diseases and injuries, but they are not some kind of miracle cure for everything. When a doctor offers to inject some kind of stem cells into a patient either into the bloodstream or into a specific place that is injured such as a shoulder, we just do not know at this point if it will do any good with the exception of bone marrow transplant. You should start getting worried if the clinic tells you that one kind of stem cell such as fat, bone marrow, or amniotic stem cells can treat many different conditions. Theres no science behind that kind of claim. Stem cells are not a panacea.

Patients often mention to me that the doctors offering stem cell treatments told them that the treatments are proven safe.or that your own stem cells cannot harm youor that adult stem cells are harmless. I often tell people to think about how much research and how many questions they ask when looking to get a new car. You should bring at least that level of intensity (ideally much more) to getting info about stem cell transplants too as the stakes are even higher.Be skeptical. Ask many questions and if you arent convinced, then dont do it.

6)Dont let celebrities be your guide to medical care.The number of famous people getting stem cell treatments is increasing including sports stars and politicians. Dont let what these folks do influence what you decide to do about your health. Just because they are famous do not believe for one minute that they are any more informed than you or your personal doctor about medical treatments or stem cells. If anything I think sometimes famous people are more reckless with their health than average people like you and me.

7)Reach out to scientists as a source of info.As a scientist I am always happy to hear from people outside the scientific community with questions about stem cells and other research. I cant speak for all stem cell scientists but you might be surprised at how likely it is that if you send them a very short, clear email with one or two questions that they will respond and be helpful. We cant or shouldnt offer medical advice, but we can give our perspectives on stem cell research and its clinical potential, etc. Just do not cold call scientists as you are unlikely to find them that way and even if you do, they may be cranky. Email. If they dont reply try someone else and dont be offended they we didnt answer. Often times we may not answer because we are super busy. For instance, I often get more than 100 emails a day.

8)The people selling you non-FDA approved stem cell treatments want your money.As such they will do their best to convince you that their treatment is safe and effective. The more convincing they are then the more money they make. They may offer patient testimonials either from patients who truly believe they were helped or from people who are paid to say the treatment helped them. The bottom line is that the sellers of dubious stem cell treatments are generally in it for the big bucks. Admittedly I do think that some of these providers truly believe stem cells are helpful, but youll never see even them offering to give patients the cells at cost. These are instead very much for-profit operations.

9)NEWJust because something is called a stem cell clinical trial doesnt mean it really is and being listed on means a lot less than it used to.I am contacted weekly or even daily at times by patients or their families and they are rightly focused on getting information that they can trust. Many stem cell clinics call the treatments that they offer by the name clinical trial and thats often misleading. In the standard meaning of clinical trial the experimental therapy being tested has the FDAs approval to be used in the study, there are data supporting the study, and those doing the trial do not charge patients to be in it. You shouldnt have to pay to be a guinea pig. I think thats almost always going to be unethical on the part of those giving it. I often suggest that people turn to the federal website for information and that is still a great resource, but be aware that many pseudo-clinical trials are popping up on there that are really mostly about making money. They do not have FDA approval in many cases and there are other issues of concern. So even on that website use caution.

10)The most important thing is information/data and you have a right to see it before treatment.Before you or a loved one get a stem cell treatment, ask two key questions. First, is the treatment FDA approved and if not, why not? Second, can you please show me the data that proves your treatment is safe and effective? See what kind of answer you get. If they criticize the FDA or invoke a plot by big pharma to block stem cells then that is a warning flag. If they refuse to show you data, then that is a big red warning flag. They may say it is confidential or that it is not published yet, but as a patient you have a right to see the data, assuming they have any data at all.

These facts will likely change over the coming years, but right now I think they represent reality. I know as patients we need hope, but these unapproved stem cell treatments will at best take your money for nothing, and at worst will endanger you or your loved ones.

The post above is for information only and is not medical advice. All medical decisions should be made by patients in consultation with their personal physicians.

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Patients guide to treatments - The Niche

Adult Stem Cell Therapy in Utah Docere Clinics

Stem Cell Clinics | Posted by admin
Oct 18 2017

Stem cells, specifically mesenchymal stem cells (MSCs), have been called patient-specific drug stores for injured tissues because of their broad range of healing abilities. MSCs are directly responsible for healing damaged tissues after injury. Upon encountering damaged tissue, they release proteins that decrease inflammation, kill invading microbes, and trigger the growth of new connective tissues and blood vessels.In the case of severe damage and cell death, MSCs have the ability to turn into healthy versions of damaged or destroyed cells that they encounter.

When we take MSCs from your own bone marrow, from your own fat, or from both, concentrate and/or isolate them, and then inject them directly into your problem area, we trick your body into thinking that there has been a new injury without actually causing any tissue insult, and you get a second chance at healing. In the case of advanced osteoarthritis where the population of stem cells has been depleted, we are repopulating the area with stem cells, and thereby restoring the bodys natural ability to heal itself.

Docere Clinics is an affiliate member of the Cell Surgical Network(CSN).It is the belief of the CSN that the most ethical approach to stem cell therapy is under the umbrella of IRB approved research protocols. An IRB is an Institutional Review Board;a committee responsible for approving and overseeing research on humans. IRBs are approved under the auspices of the U.S. Department of Human Research Protection. As such, our patients understand the investigational nature of our activities, are provided appropriate informed consents, and are followed continuously on an online database to chart their progress or any issues of concern. The efforts of the CSN will provide safety data,demonstrate effectiveness of treatments, and help to improve treatment programs going forward.

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Adult Stem Cell Therapy in Utah Docere Clinics

At ClinicalTrials.Gov, Untested Stem Cell Clinics …

Stem Cell Clinics | Posted by admin
Oct 13 2017

Stem cell cultures growing in multi well sample tray.

Andrew Brookes/Getty Images

Macular degeneration is the most common cause of vision loss among the elderly. But for some people with the disease, a shot of stem cells to the peeper was all they needed to see again . For others, treatment left them permanently blind . What gives? Stem cell treatments like the one described abovehappening every day in 600 clinics across the USare not approved by the FDA, and in fact have never been tested in a clinical trial.

Eyes arent the only organ getting stabbed full of stem cells. Around the country, more doctors are marketing the therapy to treat everything from diabetes to asthma to erectile dysfunction. The procedure usually involves sucking out some of a patient's fat tissue with a liposuction needle, isolating their stem cells, and reinjecting them back into the place in their body that needs most healing. But because these are living tissues unique to every individual, results may vary. Advocates of the therapy say thats just the cost of doing cutting-edge medicine. Except, any proof they have that it is effective comes from data collected on patients who pay thousands of dollars for the treatment. Usually people pay money for medicine after theres proof it works. In the last few years, some of these stem cell clinicians have begun posting large-scale studies on a government-run website called, even though they're often not up to medical research standards or even in compliance with federal regulations. This allows them to masquerade their pay-to-participate studies as legit science.

According to a paper published today by the University of Minnesota, US companies have successfully registered 18 patient-sponsored stem cell studies on that publicly funded website. Only 7 of them disclose that patients pay their own way. None of them list the costs, which can range from $5,000 to $15,000 a treatment, outright. And none of them are actual clinical trials in the randomized, blinded, gold-standard sense of the phrase. Instead, theyre observational studies, based mostly on quality of life questionnaires that ask if youve had any adverse reactions to the procedure.

Leigh Turner, the bioethicist who penned todays perspective and who has become somewhat of a watchdog in the ballooning stem cell clinic industry, says this amounts to hijacking a public good and repurposing it into a free marketing tool. They dont have to pay for ads on television, people just come to them because its this trusted national resource, he says. Its all meant to suggest a seal of approval from the federal government. And thats whats so dangerously misleading, because it doesnt mean that all. It just means someone filled out a form and pressed a button.

Following the passing of the Food and Drug Administration Modernization Act of 1997, the National Library of Medicine established to serve as a source of information about publicly and privately supported clinical trials for patients, their families and caregivers, doctors and nurses, and the public. But the NIH doesnt independently verify the scientific validity of any trials posted to the site beyond a limited quality control review. That doesnt really include things like sound study design, compliance with current regulations, or ethical guidelines. In fact, the process is largely automated, and relies almost entirely on the honor system.

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NIH said in a statement that it is continuing to evaluate ways to improve its outreach to make sure that trial participants understand potential risks and benefits. That included adding a prominent disclaimer on the homepage in March 2017, stating: Listing of a study on this site does not reflect endorsement by the National Institutes of Health. Talk with a trusted healthcare professional before volunteering for a study.

But that hasnt stopped stem cell therapy slingers from touting their clinical bonafides. Cell Surgical Network, an umbrella organization for more than 50 clinics that market the treatment directly to consumers, first registered on in October of 2013. At the time, the organization put out a press release noting that the NIH had registered its approved safety study, and that it was now cleared to enroll 3,000 people to study the adverse effects of stem cell treatments on arthritis, cardiomyopathy, Parkinsons, ALS, and a host of other inflammatory and neurological diseases. The listing of this study does not mention that research subjects are charged an average of $6000 to participate.

Elliot Lander, a urologist and co-founder of Cell Surgical Network says those costs are necessary because stem cell therapies dont make money like pharmaceuticals dothey can't be packaged up and mass-produced. Which means pharma companies and research institutions arent interested in footing the bill for clinical trials. And he says that while it might be worth noting the costs upfront, the NIH doesnt have a mandatory policy about including fees. Stem cell treatments have no business model, he says. So its left to physicians like myself to do the right thing by my patients, and get them regenerative medicine now, not 10-15 years from now. People dont need to be protected by Leigh Turner, they can do their own due diligence.

So far, at least 6,000 people have followed their due diligence to a treatment at one of Cell Surgical Networks clinics. The network keeps a database of all its patients and their outcomes, hoping for the day when the FDA decides to go from merely ignoring the proliferation of un-approved treatments to giving them a green light based on post-market data (a regulatory middle path floated by advocates like Lander.) In the meantime though, Cell Surgical Network is working with the FDA on an application for a real clinical trial, limited to just knee pain treatmentsthat will even include a randomized placebo. Its going to take us years and a few million dollars, says Lander. The walls are really high for this kind of thing. As they should be.

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At ClinicalTrials.Gov, Untested Stem Cell Clinics ...

Stem Cell Therapy and Its Revolutionary Purposes Guardian … – Guardian Liberty Voice

Stem Cell Clinics | Posted by admin
Sep 04 2017

Stem cell therapy is reaching another stage in the healthcare world by offering hope through revolutionary solutions to complex diseases. However, with progress come controversy.

Part of the debate lies in the disbelief stem cell therapy is as revolutionary asresearchers claim. The forerunners of this therapy want to replace the current treatment of Alzheimers, and cancer. There are even biotech scientists who claim experiments have shown promisebringing thebrain dead back to life, although, nothing concrete has been published.

Supporting scientists of the therapy have solid evidence thatevery disease originatesin specific cells. It is key to work with cells to find a potential cure for any illness. The first cell of a human is the stem cell; a pluripotent cell is a component of life and capable of replicating any other cell in the body. In fact, every cell in the human body comes from this cell. Pluripotent cellsare found in embryos or created from other cells making the process expensive.

With a cell capable of transforming into others, lab developers hope to find simple solutions to complexproblems. Alzheimers disease is the deteriorationof the brain cells (neurons), causingthem to die. Scientists can reverse thisby administrating stem cells into the brain to create new neurons, according to stem cell therapy supporters.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is becoming the fiercest enemy of stem cell therapy. Recently, theagency sanctioned clinics that useunapproved therapies. They seizedvials of the smallpox vaccinefrom some clinics. The FDA attacked them for not having enough proof of their practices. Somehow, the FDA is right to think this way because of the public silence of the therapys developers. People need more information about the treatment and general development.

The medical gesture of health and procedures, as well asdiagnosis, is based on scientific and proven knowledge. Contrary to the aforementioned therapy, there is a long list of publishing in medicine. It is certain that there are professionals working on stem cells, but the mistrust is justified.

Whether the therapy is legit, trustworthy, or efficient, ithas a bright future. The need forlargeamounts of money to fund theproject is undeniable. Big relevant companies, such as CSL Behringare investing moneyto accelerate the growth of the therapy.

A new groundbreaking technique is being tested that couldbring brain dead patients back to life. People who cannot live without a machine. Specialists say it is impossible to reverse that kind of damage, but stem cells therapy offersa new alternative.

People notice how much power the stem cell industry has right now. Even if individualsdo not have the legal backing, they enjoy the advocacy of powerful individuals. It is sane to remember that the major scientific progress made in history was due to experimentation. Is better if it sounds impossible to accomplishbecause it can prove the human greatness to fight against something as natural as death.

Opinion News by Gian Torres Edited Jeanette Smith


CBS NEWS:FDA cracks down on clinics selling unapproved stem cell therapies BioPharma:CSL adding scalable stem cell gene therapy tech in $91m Calimmune buy Wall Street Pit:Brain Dead Patients Could Be Brought Back to Life in Groundbreaking Stem Cell Therapy

Featured and Top Image Courtesy of Berkshire Community College Open Bioscience Image Librarys Flickr Page Creative Commons License

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Stem Cell Therapy and Its Revolutionary Purposes Guardian ... - Guardian Liberty Voice

Canadian clinics begin offering stem-cell treatments …

Stem Cell Clinics | Posted by admin
Sep 03 2017

The arthritis in Maureen Munsies ankles was so intense until barely a year ago, she literally had to crawl on hands and knees to get upstairs.

The pain, she recalls now, took my breath away, and played havoc with the avid hikers favourite pastime.

In desperation, Munsie turned to a Toronto-area clinic that provides a treatment many experts consider still experimental, unproven and of questionable safety.

The 63-year-old says the stem cells she received at Regenervate Medical Injection Therapy 18 months ago were transformational, all but eliminating the debilitating soreness and even allowing her to hike Argentinas Patagonia mountains two months ago.

For me its been a life saver, Munsie says. Ive been able to do it all again I dont have any of that pain, at all.

Canadians drawn to the healing promise of stem cells have for years travelled outside the country to such places as Mexico, China or Arizona, taking part in a dubious form of medical tourism.

But Regenervate is one of a handful of clinics in Canada that have begun offering injections of stem cells, satisfying growing demand but raising questions about whether a medical idea with huge potential is ready for routine patient care.

Especially when those patients can pay thousands of dollars for the service.

Clinics in Ontario and Alberta are treating arthritis, joint injuries, disc problems and even skin conditions with stem cells typically taken from patients fat tissue or bone marrow.

The underlying idea is compelling: stem cells can differentiate or transform into many other types of cell, a unique quality that evidence suggests allows them to grow or regenerate tissue damaged by disease or injury.

Researchers including hundreds in Canada alone are examining stem-cell treatments for everything from ailing hearts to severed spinal cords.

With few exceptions, however, the concept is still being studied in the lab or in human trials; virtually none of the treatments have been definitively proven effective by science or approved by regulators like Health Canada.

The fact that Canadian clinics are now offering stem-cell treatments commercially is concerning on a number of levels, not least because of safety issues, says Ubaka Ogbogu, a health law professor at the University of Alberta.

Three U.S. women were blinded after receiving stem-cell injections in their eyes, while other American patients have developed bony masses or tumours at injection sites, Ogbogu said.

Stem cells have to be controlled to act exactly the way you want them to act, and thats why the research takes time, he said. It is simply wrong for these clinics to take a proof of concept and run with it.

Ogbogu says Health Canada must crack down on the burgeoning industry but says the regulator has so far been conspicuous by its inaction.

Other experts say the procedures provided here typically for joint pain are likely relatively safe, but still warn that care must be taken that the stem cells do not develop into the wrong type of tissue, or at the wrong place.

Alberta Health Services convened a workshop on the issue late last year, concluding there is an urgent need to develop a certification system for cell preparation and delivery to avoid spontaneous transformation of (stem cells) into unwanted tissue.

But one of the pioneers of the service in Canada says theres no empirical evidence that such growths can develop, and suggests the treatments only real risk as with any invasive procedure is infection.

Meanwhile, patients at Regenervate have enjoyed impressive outcomes after paying fees from $750 to $3,900, says Dr. Douglas Stoddard, the clinics medical director.

About 80 per cent report less pain, stiffness and weakness within a few months of getting their stem-cell injection, he said. His treatments efficacy, though, has not been tested in a randomized controlled trial, the gold-standard scientific study which would compare the injections to a sham or other treatment and identify any placebo effect.

I believe medical progress is not just limited to the laboratory and randomized double-blind trials, Stoddard said. A lot of progress starts in the clinic, dealing with patients You see something works, you see something has merit, and then its usually the scientists that seem to catch up later.

The Orthopedic Sport Institute in Collingwood, Ont., the Central Alberta Pain and Rehabilitation Institute and Cleveland Clinic in Toronto all advertise similar stem-cell treatments for orthopedic problems.

Edmontons Regen Clinic says it plans to start doing so this fall.

Ottawas Innovo says it also treats a range of back conditions with injections between the vertebrae, and uses stem cells to alleviate nerve damage.

Orthopedic Sport says its doctor focuses on FDA and Health Canada approved stem-cell injection therapy for patient care.

In fact, no treatment of the sort the clinics here provide has ever been authorized.

Health Canada says the vast majority of stem-cell therapies would constitute a drug and therefore need to be authorized after a clinical trial or new drug submission.

A number of stem-cell trials are underway, but only one treatment Prochymal has been approved, said department spokesman Eric Morrissette. Designed to combat graft-versus-host disease where bone marrow transplants for treating cancer essentially attack the patients body its unlike any of the services the stem-cell providers here offer.

But as the U.S. Food and Drug Administration aggressively pursues the hundreds of clinics in America, Health Canada says only that its committed to addressing complaints it receives.

It will take action based on the risk posed to the general public, said Morrissette, who encouraged people to pass on to the department information about possible non-compliant products.

Stoddard said the injections his clinics provide are made up of minimally manipulated tissue from patients own bodies and any attempt to crack down would be regulation for the sake of regulation.

But academic experts remain skeptical about the effectiveness of the treatments.

Scientific evidence suggests the injections may help alleviate joint pain temporarily, but probably just because of anti-inflammatory secretions from the cells not regeneration, said Dr. David Hart, an orthopedic surgery professor at the University of Calgary who headed the Alberta workshop.

Theres a need for understanding whats going on here and theres a need for regulation, he said.

Most of the clinics say they use a centrifuge to concentrate the stem cells after removing them from patients fat tissue or bone marrow. But its unclear if the clinics even know how many cells they are eventually injecting into patients, says Jeff Biernaskie, a stem-cell scientist at the University of Calgary.

Munsie, on the other hand, has no doubts about the value of her own treatment, even with a $3,000 price tag.

The procedure from extraction of fat tissue in her behind to the injection of cells into her ankles took barely over an hour.

Within three months, the retired massage therapist from north of Toronto says she could walk her dogs again. Last week, she was hiking near Banff.

Im a real believer in it, and the possibility of stem cells, says Munsie. I just think Wow, if we can heal with our own body, its pretty amazing.

(The story was modified July 6 to clarify lack of clinical-trial evidence for Regenervate procedures.)

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