Stem cell banking fraud?

I vividly recall wading through the plethora of advertisements preying on every expectant parent’s worst fears: stem cell banking.  It’s wildly expensive, and very unproven though each company trots out examples of kids saved by the technology.  In the end, we decided to forgo it, though I worried it was a mistake for a long while afterward.

Now American Scientists warn of fraud of stem cell banks.

But Irving Weissman, director of the Institute of Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at Stanford University in California, said the well-meaning parents were being fleeced by the stem cell bankers.

“Umbilical cords contain blood-forming stem cells at a level that would maintain the blood-forming capacity of a very young child,” Weissman told reporters at the annual meeting of the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS).

“They could also have derived mesenchymal cells — fiberglass-like cells that have a very limited capacity to make scar, bone, fat — but they don’t make brain, they don’t make blood, they don’t make heart, they don’t make skeletal muscle, despite what various people claim,” he said.

Weissman said these “unproven stem cell therapeutic clinicians” tend to set up shop in countries with poor medical regulations, but AFP found websites for umbilical cord stem cell banks in European Union member states and in the United States.

“They do the therapies, then they let the patients go on their own, short of maybe 50-150,000 dollars for a therapy that has no chance — taken away from a family that needs them when they have an incurable disease,” Weissman said.

“It is wrong.”

I think I hear a faint “I told you so” in the staccato rhythm of darling pjHusband’s snores.  Good thing he’s sleeping. ; )

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