Gibbons noted that much of the Sept. 9 Times article by Laura Beil focused on one clinic, the Regenerative Medicine Institute in Tijuana, which is just on the California-Mexico border. Gibbons’ item reported that one U.S. expert says that some of the clinic’s key procedures would not pass muster in this country.
The Times article quoted UC Davis researcher Paul Knoepfler as saying,“Most important, the clinic has not produced any publishable data. We all have great hope for the promise of stem cell science, but I think it is fair to say that anyone who legitimately cares about that promise wants to find out what is the right type of cell to put in each patient. When is the right time for the transplant, and what is the best method of delivering the cells. We will never learn those things without collecting data in a well-designed clinical trial and sharing that data.”
Gibbons also said that the International Society for Stem Cell Research, which backed away under threats of lawsuits a few years ago from some criticism of dubious stem cell clinics, plans to release this week a new statement on these sorts of treatments.“There is absolutely no legitimate reason for such clinics to be not publishing their data.”
“In the United States, too, it is easy to conduct business outside government oversight, said Dr. George Q. Daley, who studies stem cells for blood diseases at Harvard Medical School. Close down one shady operation, he went on, and more seem to randomly pop up.
“Even questionable publicity does not necessarily hurt business. Regnocyte, a company in Florida, posted an unflattering CNN report about it on its Web site under the heading ‘special coverage.’”