The complexities inherent in biologics, cellular therapies, and stem cells as therapeutic entities are being been addressed at a number of levels. Thoughtful editorials, consensus statements, and even actions by state licensing boards, the FDA and the FTC for unprofessional conduct are starting to “drain the swamp.”
A large part of this growing industry consists of off-label uses; many in Regenerative Medicine seem to practice without FDA compliance. There are some indications where biologics and cellular therapies show genuine promise such as osteoarthritis, and my ongoing clinical research is conformational. Still owing to the bad actors, charlatans, and camp followers, substantive questions remain, including some basic concerns about safety, efficacy, cell sourcing and delivery, host response, and mechanism of action. There is only one way to approach this problem, and that is research with FDA governance (Personalizedstemcells.com).
In general, people thrive on novelty. We look for the latest and newest forms of treatment, hoping that the just-released remedy with the special formula will be the one to cure our problems and ease our pains. We do this as patients, and we do it as physicians. My major concern is that anyone licensed by the Department of Education and Registration may attend a weekend course, upload a web site, and begin fleecing an unsuspecting public.
Musculoskeletal disease and the resulting pain and loss of function are an invitation to the charlatans and camp followers: 20% of the population experiences arthritis and other serious musculoskeletal diseases. it’s not surprising that patients (and providers) will look anywhere for relief, and the bad actors will take advantage of an opportunity.
In the past, this approach has not worked well for many patients. The list of failed treatments for common musculoskeletal diseases is a long and sad one, from nutraceuticals to chelation therapy, and diets from alfalfa to zinc. At times, orthopaedic surgeons have not been careful stewards of clinical evidence—we continue to use viscosupplementation, despite the paucity of good evidence and we continue to use arthroscopic knee surgery in patients who should not have it. It would be nice, after all this, to get it right vis-à-vis stem cells and related treatments.
It appears that government sanctions, editorial sermons, and statements from specialty groups have not arrested the many dubious practice patterns we’ve all seen and too many patients experience. Witness the Amniotic Fluid debacle in Illinois last year perpetrated by the Bad Actors wherein patients were paying astonishing amounts of money (and taking yet-unquantified risk) for treatments that were of no benefit. The Amniotic Fluid marketed at seminars had and has no viable stem cells or biologics and cell therapies for regeneration of musculoskeletal tissues. The same holds true for Cord Blood and Wharton’s Jelly as evidenced by the epidemic of infections experienced in 2018 and 2019.
In this new decade, be informed, protect yourself, and seek out Board Certified Specialists in Regenerative Medicine if you want to postpone, perhaps avoid a joint replacement; or if you want to maintain or return to a fully active lifestyle. To schedule an appointment, call (312) 4745-1893. You may learn more at www.sheinkopmd.com.