Health Editor’s Note: This is a travesty of the worst kind. Promising cure that does not come and charging so much for it, both emotionally and monetarily…..Carol
By Vicky Stern, Contributing Writer for MedPage Today
In 2017, the Perskin family traveled to a clinic in Chicago, so their son, Jason, could receive a stem cell therapy to treat his autism. Jodi Perskin, Jason’s mother, had first heard about this experimental therapy in a Facebook group for parents interested in stem cell-based remedies for children on the spectrum. The visit cost $8,500, though Thom Lobe, MD, the pediatric surgeon who runs three such clinics in the U.S., recommended four visits per year: a $34,000/year investment.
As detailed in Spectrum, Lobe is far from the only physician marketing unregulated, unproven, and possibly dangerous stem cell therapies to desperate parents. In fact, in 2017 the FDA cautioned consumers that such therapies may be “illegal and potentially harmful,” and last year the agency sent warning letters to several companies.
But the agency has done little else and clinics such as Lobe’s continue to thrive. “I find it astonishing that this marketplace exists as a result of regulatory inaction,” Leigh Turner, PhD, an associate professor at the University of Minnesota Center for Bioethics, Minneapolis, told Spectrum.