Stem cell-enhanced treatments are rapidly gaining in popularity because of the promise of a natural healing response and a relatively safe alternative to surgery in many cases. However, because these treatments are not covered by insurance, an increasing number of unscrupulous clinics and practitioners are preying on patients’ lack of medical knowledge and taking financial advantage of people.
Amniotic and placenta “stem cells” — Let me cut right to the chase: Currently there are NO amniotic or placenta derived products that contain ANY cells at all, never mind “stem cells.”
There has been an introduction over the last few years of products marketed as “amniotic stem cells” or “placenta-derived stem cells.” The FDA very closely dictates how these products are produced and what they can and cannot contain. It would be a clear violation of FDA regulations for these products to contain stem cells. And it would be an FTC (Federal Trade Commission) violation to market them as “stem cell” products. If someone is offering to inject you with “stem cells” from amniotic or placenta fluid RUN AWAY!
That doesn’t mean that amniotic and placenta derived products are bad! These products may have a (limited) role in Regenerative Medicine treatments. We use a certain placenta derived product in our practice in select cases. But it’s important to understand that these products contain growth factors derived from amnion and placenta cells, but NO actual cells.
In the vast majority of cases, the very best stem cells are your own! Stem cells are best obtained either from the bone marrow or from the belly or buttocks fat. While there are some newer products being marketed as “umbilical cord blood stem cells,” there is some question via independent lab testing as to whether these products actually contain any viable cells (despite what the companies will claim!).
So don’t be fooled by charlatans promoting “stem cell” treatments derived from amniotic or placenta tissue or fluids. You’ll almost certainly be paying an exorbitant amount of money for a product that you only think you’re getting!