At last night’s World Stem Cell Summit awards dinner, one of the award recipients was 60 Minutes for their two-part “21st Century Snake Oil” investigation. According to the award website:
CBS News’ “60 Minutes” has provided an invaluable contribution to public awareness exposing risks and rip-offs foisted upon vulnerable patients and their families. The two-part “21st Century Snake Oil” investigation of offshore clinics making outrageous claims and luring desperate patients to undertake dubious, possibly dangerous, unproven “treatments,” has educated the public and launched investigations by both the FDA and FBI.
The issue of unregulated stem cell clinics is one that has gotten a lot of attention recently from stem cell scientists as well as the media. The concern is that people desperate for cures will pay high prices to receive unproven and in some cases unsafe “stem cell” procedures. The quotes are there because in many cases the clinics won’t reveal what it is that patient actually receives. Stem cells? Maybe. Or maybe not.
During the award to 60 Minutes last night CIRM grantees Larry Goldstein of UC San Diego and Jeanne Loring of Scripps Research Institute were both mentioned for their work educating people about unregulated stem cell clinics. Here are videos we’ve produced with both of these scientists talking about their concerns:
I would add Paul Knoepfler to the list of those CIRM grantees who has worked hard to educate people about the risks of untested treatments. He blogs regularly about such clinics in the U.S. and internationally. You can read his blog here.