May 9 (UPI) — The Justice Department on Wednesday filed complaints in Florida and California to stop three companies from offering experimental stem cell treatments.
The three companies — Stem Cell Treatment Center Inc. and Cell Surgical Network Corporation in California and US Stem Cell Clinic in Florida — offer stem cell-based treatments for an array of diseases, including cancer and Parkinson’s disease, without FDA approval, the Justice Department said.
Thousands of patients have received these treatments, with costs of more than $100,000.
“Marketing unproven and potentially unsafe treatments puts consumers at risk,” said Acting Assistant Attorney General Chad A. Readler of the Justice Department’s Civil Division said in a statement. “The Department of Justice will continue to work with the FDA to make sure manufacturers of experimental therapies conduct their research within the safe and legal bounds for drug innovation.”
The Justice Department’s complaints come after several patients filed lawsuits against the California treatment centers for side effects ranging from infections to loss of consciousness, the Los Angeles Times reported. At the US Stem Cell Clinic in Florida, macular degeneration patients who received stem cell injections into their eyeballs sued the clinic after they experienced blindness.
Kristen Comella, the chief science officer of the US Stem Cell Clinic, said in a statement that her clinic’s treatments utilize “the body’s own natural ability to heal.”
“It is my life’s work to pioneer regenerative medicine and educate the public about its healing potential,” Comella said. “I remain steadfast that no government agency should deprive individuals of their right to harness the cells that exist in their body.”