Monday, September 16, 2019

'Regulated, Reputable, Reliable:' A California Call for More Regulation of Dubious 'Stem Cell' Clinics

The president of the $3 billion California stem cell agency, Maria Millan, this week is recommending a new approach to state regulation of rogue "stem cell" clinics that are preying on desperate patients.

In a presentation prepared for a meeting Wednesday of the
Maria Millan
CIRM photo
stem cell task force of the State Medical Board, Millan listed standards for patient care, declaring that the field should be "regulated, reputable and reliable."

Millan said patients are being harmed by unproven treatments at clinics in California and elsewhere. The chairman of the board of her agency, Jonathan Thomas, has called the treatments "snake oil." (The agency is formally known as the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM).)

A small task force of the State Board is laying the groundwork for additional regulation of the industry, which has grown rapidly in recent years. Estimates are that 1,000 clinics exist across the country with the largest number in California. 

Earlier this year, a measure to set standards for the clinics died in a legislative committee. The board itself initiated its task force more than a year ago. This week is its first public hearing. 

Millan's slide presentation for the meeting did not go into details. But she called for improved informed consent from patients and raised the following considerations:
  • Creation of publicly available registries of stem cell treatment options  
  • Creation of a method for patients to self-report outcomes or harm from unregulated regenerative medicine treatments 
  • Requiring "clear visibility" for patients of the treatment team's credentials
  • Creation of a "mechanism for investigating those holding healthcare  licenses suspected of violating professional        standards when providing unproven stem cell interventions,  particularly those outside their scope  of training" 
  • Registration of treatments that involve human cellular and tissue products along with a clear distinction between federallly authorized treatments and practice of medicine
The public can file comments on the matter by emailing them to  Check here for details on Internet access to the meeting. Sphere: Related Content

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