ARTICLE: A Survey of Unregulated Direct-to-Consumer Treatment Centers Providing Stem Cells for Patients With Heart Failure

AUTHORS: Zackary D. Goff, Andrew B. Kichura, John T. Chibnall, Paul J. Hauptman

JOURNAL: JAMA Intern Med. 2017 Jul 24. doi: 10.1001/jamainternmed.2017.2988. [Epub ahead of print]


Stem cell therapy for the treatment of heart failure (HF) is under investigation but not approved by the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA).1 Nevertheless, through direct-to-consumer promotion, “stem cell centers” claim to offer this treatment to patients. We sought to assess the type of treatments, cost, and statements made about efficacy.

Stem cell centers marketing treatment for HF were identified using a published database.2 We used a standardized script in a telephone survey to ensure consistency in data collection. Several centers had multiple satellite locations; for these, only 1 was contacted. Inquiries included stem cell source, infusion method, treatment number, preprocedural evaluation, follow-up, and price. Representative statements by stem cell center personnel were chronicled. The board certifications of physicians named on center websites were compared against online registries.3,4

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