Illinois public health officials are warning that people can, and have, gotten sicks from using nonapproved stem cell therapies.
While there haven’t been any reports in Illinois, the Illinois Department of Public Health and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are both warning that people in other states have gotten sick from using unauthorized stem cell therapies.
IDPH Chief Medical Officer Dr. Jennifer Layden said a handful of clinics in Illinois have offered products from the ReGen Series.
“We are aware that there are some clinics that have used some stem cell products that are not FDA approved,” Layden said. “We are working with our local health departments to inform those clinics, so they are aware.”
Patients in other states who used ReGen got sick.
“Back at the end of 2018, the CDC became aware of some patients who received these products,” Layden said. “They subsequently developed bacterial infections at the site of the injection.”
After an investigation of several bacterial infections in patients following the use of stem cell products from the ReGen Series that were distributed by Liveyon LLC. A Food and Drug Administration investigation into the manufacturer, Genentech, found deviations from federal guidelines, including screening stem cell donors for diseases such as HIV, hepatitis B and hepatitis C infections, according to a news release.
Layden said the only approved stem cell therapies in the U.S. target cancers, immune system issues, or certain blood disorders.
Unauthorized stem cell treatments are being sold as a way to deal with everything from chronic pain to aging.
“While all medical treatments have benefits and risks, non-FDA approved stem cell therapies have the potential to expose patients to risks without a clear benefit,” IDPH Director Dr. Ngozi Ezike said in a statement. “If you are considering any stem cell treatment, first find out if the stem cell therapy is approved, and be sure to get all the facts.”