It’s been an odd experience having a local stem cell clinic, called Nervana, here in Sacramento to watch in terms of how they handle things such as advertising. I’ve also heard quite a lot from people within our community asking about Nervana. Now the business is selling non-FDA approved stem cell therapies in San Diego too.
I’ve been concerned this year to see that our local paper The Sacramento Bee (SacBee) keeps running full-page ads (see the latest from this week above) for Nervana because I don’t believe there is a solid, medical or scientific basis for what they are selling. For instance, the notion that stem cells can be used safely and effectively treat joint problems or neuropathy (things mentioned in ads) is debatable at this time.
Another concern raised within the community is that at least some of the customers of Nervana may have received administrations of stem cell products from a nurse practitioner instead of a physician. I haven’t independently validated that. I’m not quite sure of how that is playing out in this case, but in my opinion only a well-trained physician who is a stem cell expert themself should transplant stem cell products.
The fact that Nervana now is recruiting patients in San Diego (see recent newspaper ad there at right; source California Stem Cell Report) for these non-FDA approved stem cell interventions amplifies concerns over potential risks for patients.
My understanding is that Nervana predominantly sells amniotic stem cell therapies. This raises the interesting question of whether the product in question is in fact stem cells (i.e. living cells) or an extract of amniotic stem cells. A great deal depends on the answer to this question in terms of FDA oversight, but also related to marketing as the ads to my eye suggest living stem cells are used.