The Bone Collector

stem cell; courtesy of Amy Shah

December 31, 2012

I have commented on the unapproved uses of stem cell therapies previously. While many of these treatments are administered by foreign clinics, a rather spectacular failure occurring in the United States was reported recently in the Scientific American (

As readers of this blog are no doubt aware, cosmetics do not require FDA approval, and so fall into a twilight land of “drug like” products that may contain some of the same compounds that form the basis of powerful treatment protocols for cancer and other diseases. In this case a woman underwent a stem cell treatment to rejuvenate the skin around her eyes. Months later she experienced pain and swelling resulting from bone fragments that had arisen in the tissue where the stem cells had been injected.

She was successfully treated at the Morrow Institute ( in Rancho Mirage CA (no relation, I’m sad to say) and the bone fragments were removed. The FDA website states unequivocally that they do NOT approve cosmetics, despite frequent and confusing advertisements that suggest that they do. Cosmetic products can represent an untested mush of different biological molecules, some of which may be carcinogenic cytokines.

For a CBS report on the debate between the FDA and the cosmetics industry see With a stretched and overworked agency struggling to reign in overhyped cosmetic products, it may be a while before we see some action on this front.



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