The six-minute section mimics a morning hours talk show, using a polished TV sponsor to interview guests around a coffee desk. Dr. Adam Pourcho extols the benefits of stem cells and “regenerative medicine” for healing joint parts without surgery. Pourcho, a sports activities medicine specialist, says he has used platelet injections to take care of his own leg pain, and a tendon injury in his elbow. Brendan Hyland, a fitness center monitor and teacher coach, describes withstanding intense heel pain for 18 months before seeing Pourcho.
Four months following the injections, he says, he was has and pain-free since gone on a 40-mile hike. It was sponsored by Swedish Medical Center, the biggest nonprofit health provider in the Seattle area. Swedish is one of an increasing number of respected private hospitals and health systems-including the Mayo Clinic, the Cleveland Clinic and the University of Miami-that have inserted the profitable business of stem cells and related remedies, including platelet injections.
Typical treatments involve injecting patients’ joint parts using their own body fat or bone marrow cells, or with ingredients of platelets, the cell fragments known for his or her role in clotting bloodstream. Many patients look for regenerative medicine to push away surgery, even although evidence helping these experimental remedies is slim at best, Knoepfler said.
Hospitals say they’re providing options to patients who’ve fatigued standard treatments. But critics suggest the private hospitals are exploiting eager patients and profiting from trendy but unproven treatments. The Food and Drug Administration is attempting to turn off treatment centers that hawk unapproved stem cell remedies, which were linked to several situations of blindness and at least 12 serious infections.
Hospitals like Mayo are careful to follow these requirements, to avoid working afoul of the FDA, said Dr. Shane Shapiro, program director for the Regenerative Medicine Therapeutics Suites at Mayo Clinic’s campus in Florida. For doctors and hospitals, stem cells are easy money, Turner said. 5,000 for excess fat and bone marrow injections.
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As an additional benefit, doctors need not wrangle with insurance companies, which view the methods as experimental and largely don’t cover them. Some patient advocates be concerned that clinics are more thinking about capturing a slice of the stem-cell market than in demonstrating their treatments really work. Dr. James Rickert, leader of the Society for Patient Centered Orthopedics, which advocates for high-quality care. Within a joint statement, Swedish and Pourcho defended the web video. But Knoepfler said the guests on the video make several “unbelievable” claims. At one point, Dr. Pourcho says that platelets release growth factors that inform the brain which types of stem cells to send to the website of an injury.
After being approached by KHN, Rose asked Swedish to eliminate the video from YouTube because it wasn’t called sponsored content. Omitting that label could permit the video to be baffled with news programming. The video appears only on the KING-TV website now, where Swedish is called the sponsor.