Caveat Emptor


Anchor lead: If you’re considering stem cell therapy, carefully examine your options, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Stem cells clinics have opened all around the country, offering therapies for a range of diseases and conditions. Jeffrey Kahn, director of the Berman Institute of Bioethics at Johns Hopkins, says caveat emptor. 

Kahn: Some of the stem cell therapy clinics, and I use therapy guardedly there, in the United States are not regulated because the FDA doesn’t regulate certain kinds of cell based therapies, when they come from the individual themselves, autologous stem cell therapies, they don’t need to go through FDA approval. People need to be aware, maybe not that they shouldn’t seek it if they think it’s appropriate and have reason to believe it’s safe and effective, but they shouldn’t believe that the FDA has vetted it licensed it approved it because that isn’t true in some cases.  :33

Cases of blindness following stem cell injections into the eye have been reported, Kahn notes, so the consequences of unproven therapies can be severe. At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.