Stem cell experts want out of documentary after funding source revealed

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The new documentary series “Healthcare Revolution”, is scheduled to become available this week. The filmmakers might delay the premiere because some stem cell experts interviewed for the documentary no longer wish to be involved. Moreover, they discovered recently that for-profit stem cell providers who are under federal investigation provided funding for the series. Hence, these experts fear “Healthcare Revolution” may promote what they consider to be junk science.

“I am a stalwart and outspoken critic of unapproved stem cell therapies. I don’t belong in their company,” said Jeanne Loring, a professor emeritus at Scripps Research in La Jolla (San Diego County). She asked the filmmakers to remove her from the series after seeing their website, and they agreed to edit her out of the documentary, she said.

“I’m fine with how I was portrayed in it,” said Loring, who was sent an advance copy of the episode she was in. “But I’d never endorse this sort of thing, and it’s implicit endorsement just being part of it.”

In fact, the FDA is currently investigating Dr. Mark Berman and Dr. Elliot Lander. The agency has requested an injunction that would block them from selling stem cell therapies. U.S. Stem Cell lost a similar lawsuit in Florida to the FDA recently. It is not clear if this company financed the video, given that the chief medical officer is listed among the experts on the website.  

Finally, Dr. Evan Snyder, another medical practitioner listed on the website, said that learning about the financing of the project and reading some communication used to describe it “gives me a bad taste in my mouth.” The promotional messages are overly enthusiastic and do not reflect his scientific perspective nor most of his colleagues’, he said.

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