Proposed cautions make sense for stem-cell clinics

Private clinics have lured patients with claims of injectable therapies for which no evidence or FDA-approval exists.

A bill in Washington's Legislature would require private stem-cell clinics to post signage warning prospective clients that the therapy offered therein lacks scientific evidence and FDA approval.

The clinics, which have proliferated nationally, are exploiting the bona fide advances made by researchers in stem-cell medicine, as well as people desperate to relieve musculoskeletal and other ailments, said UW Medicine scientist Charles Murry. He's a stem-cell researcher working to generate cardiac tissue in a way that someday might preclude some patients' need for heart surgery.

"If you go to their websites, they have an extraordinary list of things that they purport to be able to treat, ranging from erectile dysfunction to autism," he said.  "And it's entirely implausible."

Murry and Tony Blau, a colleague in stem-cell research, wrote an op-ed on the topic that supports the legislative bill.  It was published Feb. 11, 2018, in The Olympian. 

Downloadable video of Murry discussing the issue is available to web and broadcast journalists.

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UW Medicine