We trust our doctors with our lives. However, what is the reaction when some medical professionals allow unsanitary measures and diseases to break out into the population? Four institutions in the U.S. came under fire recently by the FDA for improperly handling microbiological organisms and exposing the public to smallpox after conducting unapproved techniques, endangering hundreds of lives.
The FDA identified four medical centers in California and Florida as utilizing unapproved stem cell therapies for those with cancer and other serious illnesses. One of the institutes, California Stem Cell Treatment Centers, applied a method developed by StemImmune Inc., which consisted of injecting clients with a mixture of the smallpox vaccine and stem cells. Dr. Mark Berman, co-founder of the California center, described their methods as “cutting edge therapy” for stage-4 cancer patients, as reported by the Los Angeles Times.
The consequences of such methods are worrisome; as the FDA claims exposure to the smallpox vaccine significantly increases the risk of life-threatening complications, including heart inflammation. Perhaps even more troubling is the fact that individuals in contact with those receiving the vaccine may develop similar symptoms, possibly infecting hundreds of others. The FDA is currently investigating how StemImmune Inc. received shipments of the vaccine, as the product is unavailable on the market.
The Stem Cell Clinic of Sunrise, Florida is another facility under investigation by the FDA for taking improper sanitary measures to prevent contamination during their therapies. According to the agency, the clinic refused to permit entry of an FDA inspector without an appointment, which is a violation of federal law. This refusal would not be the first time the Florida institution came under fire. According to the New England Journal of Medicine, three clients suffering from macular degeneration sustained blindness following treatment at the facility.
Benefits and Risks
A variety of sources derive stem cells, including bone marrow, blood, umbilical cords, and controversially, human embryos. These products aid in the development and restoration of healthy human tissue, and help battle cancer, heart disease, and Parkinson’s disease, as noted by the University of Utah. These products are also employed for spinal cord injuries, indicating critical applications, as the central nervous system does not naturally permit neuro-regeneration following damage. Excitingly, organs growth for those requiring life-saving transplants is another possible advancement.
These innovations are not without consequences, however. According to the Mayo Clinic, some may develop graft-versus-host disease, a condition in which a donor’s stem cells attack the patient’s tissues and organs, possibly leading to death. Risks of brain tumor development are also an increased possibility for those receiving injections in the spinal cord, as abnormal tissue growth may result.
As the FDA investigates unsound practices by the four institutes endangering the lives of hundreds, Americans should not be misled regarding stem cell therapies. Through proper sanitary measures, their uses are a huge medical development, comprising a myriad of medical advantages. Liberty Nation will keep readers up to date regarding the actions of the FDA against the four clinics.
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