Max MacCloud, aka The Nutrition Ninja Doc, here for continued discussion about Stem Cells.
Most people have heard about Stem Cell therapy by now yet few realize how long it has actually been used. The first ‘stem cell procedures’ were performed over 65 years ago and have been continuously & successfully performed ever since! Yes, I realize that that may be startling news for most. It simply went by another name, Bone Marrow Transplant. So, we KNOW that stem cells are the real deal and that they work. We know that they are part of our bodies natural repair processes. What isn’t so obvious is why it has taken so long for them to be accepted and embraced by so-called ‘Modern Medicine.’ This short article will help to provide some clues although it does not delved nearly far enough into some of the darker, conspiratorial explanations.
Stem cell therapies have the potential to revolutionize modern medicine, offering the possibility of regenerating and repairing damaged tissues and organs. However, despite promising preclinical and clinical data, stem cell therapies have yet to gain widespread approval and adoption by the medical community. One reason for this lack of support may be the reluctance of big pharma and the medical device industry to invest in and promote stem cell therapies.
One potential reason for this reluctance is the complexity and variability of stem cell therapies. Stem cells are highly complex and heterogeneous, and their therapeutic effects depend on a range of factors, including their source, differentiation potential, and delivery method. This complexity makes it difficult to standardize stem cell therapies and conduct large-scale clinical trials, which are necessary to demonstrate safety and efficacy. I can’t honestly say that the complexity and variability of stem cells is a very good reason for their use to have been held back but I was being generous by including this possibility.
Another reason for the lack of support for stem cell therapies is the regulatory environment. Stem cell therapies are subject to strict regulations by government agencies, such as the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which require extensive preclinical and clinical testing before they can be approved for use. This process can be costly and time-consuming, making it difficult for smaller companies and academic institutions to bring stem cell therapies to market. Of course, this is actually the way Big Pharma set things up using the FDA to create barriers to entry for the little guys. So, again, not a particularly valid reason in my mind. It is well recognized that that the FDA is a ‘captured’ agency. A simple google search will shed light on this so please don’t kill the messenger if this is news to you.
Big pharma and the medical device industry are also influenced by market forces. Stem cell therapies are often viewed as a disruptive technology, threatening the existing business models and products of these industries. For example, stem cell therapies may offer an alternative to traditional pharmaceuticals or medical devices, reducing the demand for these products. This perceived threat may lead big pharma and the medical device industry to resist the development and adoption of stem cell therapies. This is likely the biggest thing that has held back the widespread acceptance and use of stem cell therapies.
In addition, stem cell therapies may present unique challenges to the business models of big pharma and the medical device industry. Stem cell therapies often involve personalized medicine, in which cells are harvested from the patient and expanded in culture before being re-administered. This approach may be more difficult to commercialize than traditional pharmaceuticals or medical devices, which can be mass-produced and marketed to a broad population.
Another challenge posed by stem cell therapies is the lack of intellectual property protection. Stem cells are naturally occurring and cannot be patented, meaning that companies may be unable to recoup the costs of research and development through exclusive marketing rights.
One more factor that is also a major player in all of this is Medicare and Medical Insurance Companies. For most, this is the single biggest thing holding them back from proceeding with a Stem Cell procedure. Medical insurance, whether ‘public’ as with Medicare, or ‘private’ with private insurance companies, are designed to help cover medical costs, however, they will only cover things that ‘they’ consider to be ‘medically necessary.’ Big Pharma & the Medical Device industry have spent decades and billions of dollars influencing medical schools, doctors, hospitals, government officials, and the insurance industry on what is medically necessary. You’ve probably already guessed what things they have determined to be medically necessary, the products that they manufacture. I know, its just shocking to the point of being comically transparent yet hidden in plain sight.
Think about how ludicrous it is to spend $30,000 on replacing a knee versus preventing every needing it to be replaced by employing stem cell therapies. The same applies to virtually any other joint as well as dozens of other conditions. So, who are the insurance companies really working for? Who are they protecting? Based on our national health statistics and outcomes it does not appear to be the American people.
Despite these challenges, there are some signs of progress in the development and adoption of stem cell therapies. Several stem cell therapies have been approved by regulatory agencies, and many investigational new drug trials are underway. Of course, all of that will invariably lead to those therapies costing more down the road. In addition, some big pharma companies have begun investing in stem cell therapies, either through partnerships with academic institutions or through the acquisition of smaller companies.
In conclusion, the lack of support for stem cell therapies by big pharma and the medical device industry may be due to a range of factors, including the complexity and variability of stem cell therapies, the regulatory environment, market forces, and challenges to traditional business models. Sadly, none of those factors have to do with providing better quality of care. Despite these challenges, there are some signs of progress in the development and adoption of stem cell therapies, suggesting that they absolutely have a role to play in the future of medicine.
I don’t have any quick and simple solutions as to what to do about our corrupt health care (actually disease care) system or those that pull the strings at the mega multinational pharmaceutical & medical equipment manufacturers. I don’t have a quick and easy way to get the FDA to do the job it was theoretically created to do or the get medical insurance providers to let doctors and their patients decide what things are medially necessary. All I can do it encourage you to keep learning and make informed health decisions. That will likely entail reaching into your pocket to pay for stem cell therapies before it is too late.