An Unproven Stem Cell Treatment Blinded Three Women in Florida
By Amber 0
The women, all in their seventies and eighties, had what Albini describes as “fairly” functional vision before the procedure, but paid $ 5,000 in 2015 to be treated for age-related macular degeneration. Each woman was injected in both eyes with a treatment prepared from her own fat tissue. By the next day, each woman suffered from a detached retina. One woman is now completely blind and the other two are legally blind.
Two of the women reported going to the clinic because it listed a macular degeneration study on a federal database. However, the clinic later withdrew the listing without recruiting any participants. The clinic’s parent company U.S. Stem Cell, Inc. told the Associated Press that its clinics “have successfully conducted more than 7,000 stem cell procedures with less than 0.01 percent adverse reactions reported.”
However, Albini and his colleagues stress that this incident illustrates how risky unproven treatments can be. They also point out that stem cell clinics aren’t regulated by the FDA, nor does simply listing a study on a federal database guarantee that it’s legitimate. If you’re interested in participating in a clinical study, Albini recommends getting written documentation from the FDA as well as making sure that your doctor has experience treating your condition with or without stem cells.