For those of you who have been to one of my seminars or heard me on the radio, you have heard my opinion about the “birth product” stem cell scams that are out there. Typically, these take the form of a “seminar” that are advertised in the local newspaper. It turns out that the seminar is really a high-pressure sales event designed to take advantage of people who, in many cases, are desperately seeking solutions to a chronic pain problem or a chronic disease situation.
Those of us who are trying to do Regenerative Medicine “the right way” are disturbed by the “bait and switch” tactics of these organizations. Usually, these seminars are heavily promoted in partnership with a chiropractic clinic. The person that does the “stem cell” injections may be a nurse practitioner or a physician’s assistant with no formal training in musculoskeletal medicine. In addition, as this consensus statement points out, the products that they use from umbilical cord or amniotic fluid have no viable stem cells. Two independent studies have come to the conclusion that most of us were already aware of: these products are drastically inferior to bone marrow-derived stem cells and platelet rich plasma (PRP). In my mind, these people are the snake oil salesmen of present day. They are taking advantage of an often-vulnerable segment of the population strictly for monetary gain and selling their high-priced fairy dust. One of the lies that they tell people is that their own stem cells are “too old”, and that is why they should get the umbilical or amniotic product. This statement is misleading at best.
It is definitely a good thing that this nationally recognized panel was able to come out with this statement in the link below, which will be an important step in educating our patients:
Consensus Statement by Physicians, Academics, and Regulatory Experts on the Aggressive Marketing of Non-viable Birth Tissues as Live “Stem Cell” Products to Cure Chronic Disease