Monday, June 17, 2019

Stem Cell Video Flap: World Stem Cell Summit Withdraws from 'Docu-Series'

The chairman of the World Stem Cell Summit today said that he has asked that his organization be removed from any mention in a controversial online video about stem cell therapies.

Bernard Siegel, chair of the Summit, said,

"My organization's stand on the 'Bad Actors' is clear from the numerous posting and interviews. We support the FDA in enforcement actions and condemn the actions of the purveyors of bogus treatments, false and misleading claims."
Siegel's remarks came in response to questions this morning from the California Stem Cell Report. He said that he also asked that his interview be withdrawn from the 10-part "docu-series." Some of interviews that appear in the video were done at one of the Summit conferences. 

A number of researchers and others have also asked that they be removed the video, "Healthcare Revolution," because of its ties to a California stem cell firm, Cell Surgical Network (CSN), that is the target of federal regulators. The CEO of the California stem cell agency is also listed as an interviewee in the video. 

Siegel said that the World Stem Cell Summit has no financial connection to CSN, which partially financed the video. He also said the Summit had no financial ties to Working Pictures, the firm that produced the video or its principals, Bobby and Sara Sheehan.

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is seeking to halt treatments provided by CSN, which has about 100 affiliates nationwide and more overseas.  CSN has offices in Beverly Hills and Rancho Mirage, Ca. 
(For more information on the FDA action, see here and also here.

Here is the full text of Siegel's response to the California Stem Cell Report.
"The Sheehans appeared to be, by all accounts, legitimate filmmakers with a long track record of quality productions. They did film several interviews at the World Stem Cell Summit for their documentary. The Summit team was unaware of any links the production had with Cell Surgical Network. We were surprised last week when the trailer was released and saw how the series was being framed promotionally.

"The Summit, or any other organization that I am affiliated with, certainly has no connection to the Cell Surgical Network financial or otherwise. Upon learning that CSN funded the production, I withdrew my own interview from the project and requested the removal of any reference to my organization.

"We have no financial ties to the Sheehans or their production company. I have spoken to Sara and Bobby Sheehan who instantly agreed to remove any individual who sought to remove his or her interview from the series. They have proven themselves totally cooperative to date in that regard. They appear to be caught in the middle of a war, unfortunately lacking the depth of understanding.

"My organization's stand on the 'Bad Actors' is clear from the numerous posting and interviews. We support the the FDA in enforcement actions and condemn the actions of the purveyors of bogus treatments, false and misleading claims."
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