Is There Any Actual Science Behind Stem Cell Therapy?

In 2017, three women went blind after paying
a so-called ‘stem cell clinic’ in Florida thousands of dollars to treat their macular
degeneration. Wait a second, a year ago Julian was talking
about all the new and exciting advances in this field. Why are these stem cell therapies dangerous,
and why aren’t real, safe, and effective therapies on the market yet? I know right? Things like this keep happening across the
US, which recently made the FDA basically say: Hold up. These “unproven and unsafe products”
purport to address a serious disease, but instead could “put patients at significant
risk.” We’ve talked about stem cells before on
this channel, going over what they are and how they work, as well as some of the groundbreaking
stem cell treatments that are showing promise. But, the early flagship trial that hoped to
improve macular degeneration–a disease leading to eventual blindness–was halted after just
ONE patient received treatment, due to concerns if they posed any threat to the long-term
health of those participating in the trials. That’s how cautious REAL clinical trials
are–they really try to minimize any risk before they bring treatments to patients. That early trial was suspended in 2014, and
there’s still only ONE stem cell therapy officially approved by the FDA — bone marrow
transplants to treat those with blood cancer. Because bone marrow is where our stem cells
live when we’re adults. There are a ton more FDA-vetted clinical trials
in the pipeline, but those are not fully-fledged treatments yet–they’re just tests to see
how it works, if it’s effective, and what the side effects are so that researchers can
go on to make a product or a procedure that actually works. The flood of ‘stem cell clinics’ that
have been popping up all over the world, promising to cure everything from blindness to joint
damage to neurodegenerative disease, all share one telltale sign–they charge patients for
treatment. Vulnerable people seeking cures to health
ailments are paying companies large sums of money to receive a treatment that’s not
even at clinical trial stage. In the FDA’s words, these are treatments
with a worrisome lack of evidence that they work, at all. And they may actively be harmful. See, most legitimate clinical trials of treatments
like this will cover the costs of treatment for the patient through the pharmaceutical
company or a foundation, precisely for the reason that it may not work, it’s not yet
a fully developed treatment. So paying for a ‘clinical trial’ can be
warning flag number one. Profit-oriented companies scamming sick people
out of their money are taking advantage of consumer confusion around this topic. Stem cell science is in the news a lot because
scientists are making incremental progress–but this is happening in the lab, demonstrating
how stem cells MAY be used in the FUTURE to treat patients . It’s a highly reported on topic because
it’s an exciting one that could change the future of medicine. But science takes a long time. So let’s get it straight: Embryonic stem
cells are heavily regulated and hard to access, but nothing is stopping faux treatment facilities
from taking cells from a patient’s body and turning them into stem cells–these are
called induced pluripotent stem cells, or IPSCs. The Florida ‘clinic’ that blinded three
women extracted the patients’ belly fat, went through the process to turn that into
stem cells, and then injected it into their eyes. The problem is IPSCs from fully-formed, adult
tissue…can only turn into that tissue . Fat stem cells can only turn into fat, so injecting
them into an eye?! IPSCs still do hold huge promise for repairing
patients’ damaged tissue, and researchers are always looking for ways to extract and
multiply the stem cells we have as adults that CAN turn into anything, because that
would allow us to repair any damage on the body –it’s just that there’s no legitimate
treatment out there yet. Scientific research like this is exciting
and there’s a ton of it out there, and science nerds like us are talking about it a lot because
it’s really cool…but, as we’ve seen, we need to be careful in HOW we talk about
it. The next time you see an ad online for a stem
cell clinic promising a miracle cure, maybe dig a little deeper. There are some people who will take advantage
of the hype around that basic research for their own gain, making people believe that
fully-fledged treatments are out there, even though they’re really not. Everyone, this is Maren! Maren meet everyone. Maren is new to the channel, she’s a science
communicator and she’s super good at environmental science,animal behavior, and biology… You’ll be seeing her more on the channel,
give her a warm welcome! And check out this video about some recent
exciting stem cell research developments, but take a minute to think about how experiments
like this are different from an actual treatment. We think it’s just as important to talk
about the realities of science as it is to geek out over the flashy stuff, so subscribe
if you think so too. I’m Maren! I’m Trace, thanks for watching Seeker!


  1. I believe there is a huge push against stem cells, because there is a lot of money these naysaying entities stand to LOSE.

  2. I, like many millions of Americans pay trillions to the government to watch out for companies like these mentioned, why aren't we taking the CEO's of these scammer companies into the streets and hanging them to stop this?

  3. Make a video about what happens when we use all the river water !Not allowing them to mix with sea! Environmental effect of that

  4. I have a very good friend who has this exact eye disease. It's fucking tragic, the meds that are approved barely work to keep total blindness at bay while also having the potential to cause MS/Alzheimers/other cognitive diseases.

    Good video.

  5. The problem is that the bar to get FDA approval is so high (expensive and takes forever) that many of these treatments might never make it to market.

  6. There is always risk especially when you're putting cells and other biological matter in areas where it doesn't naturally belong. Nlt that I'm against it or anything just saying never get your hopes up to high and always except the unexpected like everything elese in life.

  7. Fake news. Insurance is required, by law, to pay the routine care costs associated with an approved clinical trial. However, insurance is not required to pay for the treatment itself. IE the stem cell treatment. If an 8 month inpatient hospital stay, insurance must pay.

  8. How sad I now lean of a treat meant that could've saved my grandmas life a year after she died from leukemia

  9. Other countries are 10 years ahead of this. There are hundreds of top celebrities and athletes who have used stem cells for rapid regeneration of damaged tissue.

  10. This video prompted me to go on a bit of a google search of stem cell treatment and yep, there's a massive bunch of questionable information at best, and utter bullshit, at worst, out there. And the websites look good at first glance although if you're a bit of a stickler for correct sentence structure, you'll find problems which immediately should raise a red flag. But a lot of people are desperate and also may not notice just how willing these places are to fudge over the facts.

  11. Thats what happens when your country lacks proper scientific education. Scams abound, with few people in the public being able to call them out (including the low level workers that do most of the stuff)

  12. Hello Maren! I accidentally just watched 20 mins of conspiracy theories so listening to something that wasn't aggressive paranoia enabling more fear was kinda weird lol Thank y'all for the heads up!

  13. The Florida clinic did NOT turn the fat cells into stem cells. They attempted to isolate adult stem cells that already existed in the fat. iPSCs derived from fully formed adult tissue can ABSOLUTELY turn into any other cell. That's the whole point of iPSCs!

  14. The truth is stem cells do amazing things, like mel gibsons dad for example look that up, only for rich people because the pharmaceutical companies arent done preying on the poor and desperate, you guys are coming off as shills in this video

  15. holy shit this girl pm the left is the hottest you ever had on this channel. Just tell her to ditch the nerd glasses.

  16. It's not like pharmaceutical companies are offering cures either. They're profit driven and push unsafe meds on millions.

  17. 2:57 get it right Seeker. IPSCs do not differ from embryonic stem cells in any clinically significant way. From reading actual news articles on this subject it looks like the clinics may have messed up the procedure and the stem cells differentiated improperly

  18. I’m a long time watcher of this show.. and this is bullshit.

    They didn’t touch the actual science of stem cells, and the various locations of their origin.

    Are there tons of shady clinics around the US? Absolutely. However, this has more to do with needless and senseless regulation than actual science.

    Various types of mesenchymal stems cells exist, and fat derived stem cells are some of the worst. Umbilical cord stem cells are extremely effective, and unfortunately are only allowed OUTSIDE of the US.

    Where’s the science? Where’s the research? I’m sadly disappointed. The least they could do is explain the different types of stem cells and their associated risks, but no, instead they choose to demonize all stem cells by associating them with fat derived stem cells.

    This borders on unethical and wrong.

  19. Anyone else notice her lips go weird asf throughout the video? I was looking for… Science reasons..

  20. Welcome Marin to Seeker, aka DNews. I look forward to your science contributions to this channel. I've been a longtime subscriber to this channel and have watched Trace back to when Seeker was DNews. This is where I come to get my daily dose of STEM news.

  21. Hey guys—There is a small error in this video: at 2:55 I say, "The problem is IPSCs from fully-formed, adult tissue…can only be turned into that tissue". Technically, this is incorrect. iPSCs, as some commenters note, can turn into anything. However, tissue-specific stem cells that have not been all the way undifferentiated, can only turn into other kinds of cells from that tissue. The incident that we highlight in this video turned patient’s belly fat into fat stem cells, not iPSCs, so at 2:55 we should not have used the word ‘iPSCs’ and should have called them ‘fat stem cells’ instead. Thanks to all the commenters who pointed this out, and we (and I) apologize for the mistake. We’re glad that you all appreciate the central message of the video, which remains unchanged by this note.

  22. Aside from the miswording with the iPSCs, this was a good video. I think you guys would find lot of information in looking into what is being done with stem cells in veterinary research. One thing I believe you guys would enjoy would be looking into (on YouTube) would be "Nanofiber tendon replacement full story," which demonstrates a revolutionary success in stem cell therapy in fully regenerating a horse tendon, which is something that, before this treatment, would have required the horse to be euthanized. It's a fascinating story and really shows the potential in stem cell based therapies.

  23. Your ignorance is extraordinary Both of you . People if you want the real info check out
    Joe Rogan 1066 . Mel Gibson and Joe talk about Their REAL treatments with A real Dr.
    Yes thats right both of them had 100 % success with stem cell treatments, AND Mel's
    91 year old Father was treated 100% and beyond.
    The both of you twits have brought down the intelligence of everyone on youtube!
    Pharma Whores

  24. "Bone marrow is where our stem cells live when we're adults" … that's not accurate. that's where our hematopoietic stem cells live. We have many tissue sources of adult stem cells.

  25. Cody Garbrant from the Ufc recently said that he recieved stem cell treatment for his back pains before his fight with T.j N he also said it did nothing for him….Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm

  26. I'm not sold on stem cell therapy.
    But following health guidelines from medical experts has given us unprecedented;
    diabetes myelitis, neurodegenerative diseases, cardio vascular disease, high blood pressure, massive obesity, metabolic syndrome, ad infinitum.

  27. Not true guys. Check out

    Also, Joe Rogan got stem cell injections at a clinic in Vegas.

    Just two examples, I'm sure there are more 🙂

  28. the information is wrong ! iPSCs from adults can turn into a lot of different cells!
    I hope you can correct that… the problem of using ipsc comes from the efficiency and safety concerns.

  29. Wow these two are idiots that have no idea what they're talking about they're not scientist or have any legitimate knowledge in this area

  30. You think the U.S. pharmaceutical industry wants simple treatments that can put them out of business? No, they discredit all the most effective star trek type miracle cures like chemical oxidizers that kill practically all pathogens and stem cells which have been used effectively in many countries but you won't hear about it in the news.

  31. Welcome to Seeker Maren! Talking about the bone marrow transplant made me think about the recent discovery that a lot of are red blood cells are actually created in our lungs? Is that true and if so are you guys going to do an episode about that?

  32. I know someone that owns a couple stem cell clinics. They use stem cells extracted from umbilical cords. He tells me of many great stories of recovery but I still have questions and feel he may be biased. Would love to see a video going deeper into these treatments, especially those using umbilical cord stem cells

  33. Embryonic stem cell therapy is illegal in the U.S…..I had umbilical cord stem cells injected into my knees….They feel better now

  34. Hi! Can you please do a video on the BEEM-Er machine?
    I HATE that machine because it’s taking an advantage of elderly and worse? It’s a pyramid scam.
    ~Dr. Tammy

  35. Is it just me, or do they look like they're wearing each other's glasses? Thanks for the video! 𝓡𝓲𝓴𝓴𝓲 𝓣𝓲𝓴𝓴𝓲.

  36. The sophistry is painful. Implying all for-profit clinics are scams. BS. There are too many undeniably successful clinics (outside the US's bullshit bureaucracy, which flat-out outlawed stem cell research for religious reasons in the early 2000s) to ignore, and of course they're not going to do it for free. 🤦‍♂️

  37. Seeker does not know what they are talking about here. I have used the Stem Cells from the company that they are talking about that blinded the people. They work fine and they are safe. In general you should not put highly angiogenic cells into a hypoxic environment like an eye ball. What will they do? Make lots of blood vessels. And that is exactly what happened. Put them where you need tissue repair, remodeling and capillary formation, and you will be very happy. They also work via the paracine effect and not so much differentiation. But complicated science like that is a bit much for Seeker. Read the book by Neil Riordan if you want to learn more.

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