Stem cell fraud is alive and well. Tune in Sunday, January 8 -- CBS 60 Minutes will take on the subject again.
Stem Cell Fraud - Stem cells still have not proven to be the panacea many claimed they could be, yet the Internet is alive with stem cells for sale to treat incurable illnesses. Scott Pelley reports on one man offering to treat cerebral palsy who a respected stem cell researcher says could be endangering patients. Oriana Zill and Michael Rey are the producers.
This lays out the dirt on some despicable new scams but most certainly will also include an update on a very powerful report from 2010. In that case, called “21st Century Snake Oil,” a miscreant named Lawrence Stowe was nailed dead-to-rights for ripping off two men with ALS, promising them amazing recovery with stem cells.
Read or watch that original report here
Well, Stowe is back in the news, and on the lam. He was indicted, along with 3 others – including a university professor -- in a new scam -- fake doctors, Mexican clinics, mail fraud -- to produce and market unproven stem cell therapies. This is from the LA Times, January 3:
Three men have been arrested and a fourth is being sought by the FBI in connection with what investigators say was a $1.5-million Texas-based scheme to illegally market and sell stem cell treatments to patients with terminal diseases.
The men were arrested over the last 10 days based on two indictments issued in November charging all four with 39 counts of mail fraud and unlawfully manufacturing, distributing and selling stem cells and stem cell procedures not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, according to the statement.
One of the four, Vincent Dammai, 40, of Mount Pleasant, S.C., was a researcher at the Medical University of South Carolina who allegedly used university facilities to create stem cells without obtaining permission from the FDA.
Another, Francisco Morales, 52, of Brownsville, Texas, is charged with falsely claiming to be a medical doctor who operated a Brownsville clinic specializing in using stem cells to treat "incurable diseases." From 2007 into 2010, the statement said, Morales took patients across the border into Mexico for stem cell treatments that had not been reviewed or approved by the FDA.
Also charged is Alberto Ramon, 48, of Del Rio, Texas, a licensed midwife who allegedly obtained umbilical cord blood to create stem cells from his patients at a local maternity clinic. The blood was sold to a company in Scottsdale, Ariz., which then sent the tissue to Dammai, according to the statement.
A warrant has been issued for the arrest of a fourth man, Lawrence Stowe, 58, of Dallas. The indictment charges that Stowe, who sometimes referred to himself as "Dr. Larry Stowe," "marketed, promoted, and sold stem cells" for the treatment of several diseases through front companies, including the nonprofit Stowe Foundation, apparently founded in 2003.
Here’s a piece from the Houston Chronicle
More information than you need, but here is the FBI statement