Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Primer and Paean: Consumer Guide to Stem Cells

The article today on xconomy.com had some intriguing elements: “secret online communities,” $100,000 payments to scam artists and talk of New York Times best-sellers – not to mention stem cells.

The article was about UC Davis researcher Paul Knoepfler and his new book, “Stem Cells: An Insider's Guide.” The story was written by Bernadette Tansey, a former San Francisco Chronicle reporter. Tansey said that Knoepfler's book “may never break into the New York Times best-seller ranks, but he still might make some publishing history.” She wrote,
“Knoepfler could be the only biology researcher ever to write a comprehensive consumer guide about the health care treatments being developed in his own field—complete with safety cautions.”
Tansey summarized Knoepfler's book as “a scientific primer and a paean to the promise of stem cell research.” She also said the stem cell researcher sees
“a growing network of secret online communities, as well as overt advertisements, (that) have spurred US patients to pay fortunes out of pocket to ill-trained physicians, who perform experimental procedures backed by little or no evidence.”
Knoepfler's greatest concern, Tansey said, “is for patients who have been lured by the false claims of dubious for-profit clinics to pay as much as $100,000 for unproven 'stem cell treatments.' These injections, he says, may actually consist of cells culled from pigs, cows, or sheep, and bear unknown risks such as contamination or immune system reactions.”

The California Stem Cell Report carried an item last month on Knoepfler and his book. We agree that it is quite helpful and accessible, especially for persons seeking more information about undergoing stem cell treatments.

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