You would likely think that I really enjoy writing about the stem cell wild west or the explosion in scams related to regenerative medicine. I really don’t, as there’s usually something better I need to do. Hence, I only write when I see something really exploitative. I would put “Stem Cell Therapy for Pain” in that category. The head of this outfit seems to be somehow related now or in the past with “Stem Cell Institute of America,” but her clinics are now called “Stem Cell Health Centers.”
I had actually started this blog post a while back, but other projects got in the way. However, I went to get my hair cut this weekend for upcoming lectures and there was Jill Howe on TV in a paid ad concocted to look like a network news program. As I watched her misinform consumers while getting my unruly hair tamed, I thought to myself, I know what tomorrow’s blog will be.
A while back, I participated in a video that showed what was going on with the explosion of chiropractic-led “stem cell” therapy seminars. See that video below:
Basically, these chiropractic clinics often follow the same game plan. Hire a nurse to perform simple injections of birth tissues, like amniotic fluid or umbilical cord tissue, that are regulated as, and known to be, dead cell products. To get people in the door, you aggressively market “stem cell” therapy seminars on local TV and in newspaper ads targeted at the elderly. Pack a room with loads of people by offering free dinner and then promise the attendees that they will receive young stem cells (even though the products you’ll inject are dead) and then show them miracle-cure X-rays that purport to show that large stretches of new cartilage have been grown in bone-on-bone arthritic knees. Offer aggressive discounts to get the elderly patients to sign up, and then use a nonmedical person or nurse to determine candidacy. Pretty much everyone is a candidate, so that step is a mere formality. Some of these patients will get some relief for a while because they got what amounted to a hyperexpensive platelet-rich plasma shot, but none of them actually got an injection of young stem cells.
I first saw Jill Howe, a chiropractor, on a pay-for-play news program a few years back. She had a pay-for-play announcer (Forbes Riley) and seemed to be interviewed as an expert in stem cell therapy. She had also written a few pay-for-placement pieces in local newspapers. The message was the same. Jill Howe was espousing the amazing benefits of young stem cells in commercially available birth tissue products. The problem? These products are regulated to contain dead, nonviable cells, and independent third-party testing has confirmed that they have no viable cells.
First, let’s explore if Jill Howe is an expert in this field. This is what would define a medical expert:
Hence, Jill Howe is not a stem cell expert.
Jill’s statements from her videos, pay-for-play news-station presentations, and seminars follow:
The upshot? Don’t fall for the flashy paid fake news interviews on TV! There are no young and healthy stem cells being delivered in magic amniotic or umbilical cord injections. This is a scam. While there are high-quality orthopedic stem cell procedures being offered by companies like Regenexx and a handful of others, most of the providers working for Stem Cell Health Centers or featured at “Stem Cell Therapy for Pain” wouldn’t be qualified to work in a Regenexx clinic or even qualify to be trained. Nor do we bait and switch our patients by offering them dead amniotic or umbilical cord tissue and calling it a live stem cell injection. Why? We invented orthopedic stem cell injection procedures for common issues, like knee arthritis, shoulder rotator cuff tears, and back/neck pain. Hence, we are disheartened when we see chiropractors fleecing consumers.
*DISCLAIMER: Like all medical procedures, Regenexx® Procedures have a success and failure rate. Patient reviews and testimonials on this site should not be interpreted as a statement on the effectiveness of our treatments for anyone else.
Providers listed on the Regenexx website are for informational purposes only and are not a recommendation from Regenexx for a specific provider or a guarantee of the outcome of any treatment you receive.
About the Author
Christopher J. Centeno, M.D. is an international expert and specialist in regenerative medicine and the clinical use of mesenchymal stem cells in orthopedics. He is board certified in physical medicine as well as rehabilitation and in pain management through The American Board of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation.…