Monthly Archives: February 2013

How Safe Are Stem Cells?

Stem Cell RiskHow safe are adult stem cells? This has become a hotly debated argument. There are financially conflicted scientists who frequently cry wolf over the safety of adult stem cells. Taken from your own body, then expanded to a therapeutic dose, mesenchymal stem cells are showing promise for treating many previously incurable illnesses. Why the objections? Theses scientists hold patents in, or receive grant money for, embryonic or IPSC stem cell research, which could be threatened by this safer therapy, already in use and saving lives today.

Paul Knoepfler, PdD, a scientist at UC Irvine pursuing induced pluripotent stem cell (IPSC) research, is one of these critics. In his blog he challenges patients who have had adult stem cell treatment: Critically reading science papers: response to patient on MS stem cell literature.

As evidence of danger, he presents 3 reports covering 9 patients that had adverse outcomes.

Patients For Stem Cells conducted some fact checking. We found 66 studies in pubmed.gov, showing there have already been over 2,154 patients treated with their own EXPANDED mesenchymal stem cells. These reports consistently conclude treatments were well tolerated, with little to no side effects other than transient fever, and that further research is warranted. This is evidenced by the 1,630 patients in 54 EXPANDED mesenchymal stem cell trials currently underway, listed at clinicaltrials.gov.

See our report on these findings How Safe Are Stem Cells?.

Arnold Caplan, PhD, from Case Western Re serve University and a leader in stem cell science has recently stated that more than 250 mesenchymal stem cells trials are ongoing or completed. The 120 trials we found are a subset of this larger number, because we limited our search to expanded or cultured cells, since this is what the critics have been crying wolf over, and calling for the FDA to withhold this life saving therapy from patients.

We challenge the critics to disprove the growing evidence base that shows adult stem cell therapy is safe.

Samantha Wilkinson,
Member, Patients for Stem Cells
www.patientsforstemcells.org

Lacks opposing viewpoints – Patients seek stem-cell ‘miracle,’ but scientists warn of dangers

Biased Journalism Category: ARTICLES THAT LACK VETTING OF SOURCES AND/OR OPPOSING VIEWPOINTS

Media item: Patients seek stem-cell ‘miracle,’ but scientists warn of dangers
January 3, 2013|By Marcia Heroux Pounds, Staff Writer
Publisheed by: Sun Sentinel
Author: Marcia Heroux Pounds, Staff Writer, on January 03, 2013

On Jan 9, 2013 the following letter was sent to Marcia Heroux Pounds, who replied expressing an interest in interviewing me. I have not heard from her since, but still invite a response to this critique, which will be posted here.

Dear Marcia Heroux,

Our group, Patients For Stem Cells, represents patients who have been denied access to our own stem cells because the FDA has regulated our cells as drugs. We oppose this decision and believe it is a violation of our basic rights. Your article, “Patients seek stem-cell ‘miracle,’ but scientists warn of dangers”, reads as propaganda spun by vested commercial interests that regrettably hurts more patients than it helps.

Your article is also lacking information concerning the financial conflicts of interest that the quoted experts have. If stem cell treatment becomes a routine procedure done by a physician, then billions of dollars could be lost by those that hold patents.

George Daley for instance holds the following patents:

-Creating Embryonic Stem Cells for Mass production-PCT/US2007/019935
-Method for Enhancing Proliferation of Stem Cells-PCT/US03/29185
-Proprietary Kit to see if an iPS Cell is Correctly Manufactured-PCT/US09/57849
-Method to Create iPSC’s (artificial stem cells)-PCT/US08/12532

You also should check the questionable background of Doug Sipp, another “expert” you quote. Mr. Sipp holds a four year English degree from Rutgers and has held odd jobs like trucking supervisor, consultant, software independent contractor, translator, and marketing manage, which was his position with Nature. He specifically holds no degrees in science or bioethics. Currently Mr. Sipp is an employee of the Riken Research Institute. At industry events where he participates, Mr. Sipp makes it clear that he heads up the Science Policy and Ethics Studies Unit of Riken. Sipp positions himself within his “Stem Cell Treatment Monitor” blog as “independent of my affiliation to any organization”, even though he is an employee of the Riken.

We know that you take your job seriously and that clinics do exist that exploit patients. Having said that, we also know that writing stories without adequate balance doesn’t support the ideal of objective journalism. Please take a moment to respond to our concerns in writing. Your response as well as this letter will be posted on our web-site, http://www.patientsforstemcells.org.

If you are interested in stories about patients that have benefited from stem cell therapy, we would be happy to make introductions.

Regards,

Alberto Salazar
Member, Patients For Stem Cells