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Scam Alert: Clinical trial involving dementia and stem cells turns out to be a scam
Jim32
Posted: Saturday, May 29, 2021 8:43 PM
Joined: 3/28/2021
Posts: 28


My mother is an 80-year-old woman with vascular dementia.

I went to the website clinicaltrials.gov, to see whether there is a clinical trial that can be beneficial to her.

I found a clinical trial that studies the following: using stem cells from a dementia patient's bone marrow to counteract the cognitive impairment that results from the patient's dementia.

This is the trial:

https://clinicaltrials.gov/ct2/show/NCT03724136

The trial is being run by Dr. Steven Levy and Dr. Jeffrey Weiss.

I contacted these doctors via email, and they sent me an introductory email that describes what they are doing. The procedure involves extracting the patient's bone marrow, extracting stem cells from that bone marrow, and then inserting the stem cells back into the patient.

The patient has to pay $14,500 just for the procedure. The procedure is done in a clinic in Coral Springs, Florida. If the patient has to travel to Coral Springs, the patient will have to pay for travel, hotels, meals, etc. The patient will be free to travel back to his home town immediately after the completion of the procedure.

I asked these doctors a couple of questions: 

1) If the patient leaves town right after the procedure is finished, how do you keep track of the patient's progress? Do you coordinate with the patient's home-town doctor?

2) It seems that this procedure can be done by any qualified doctors anywhere in the world. Is it possible for this procedure to be done in Chicago, where my mother and I live? After all, my mother is a dementia patient, and transporting her from Chicago to Florida will be very difficult. She can not fly on a commercial flight. So, an expensive private flight would have to be chartered.

A week went by, and there was no answer.

So, I did some online research, and I found the following article:

https://www.kansascity.com/news/business/health-care/article233635472.html

Apparently, a few years ago, Dr. Levy and Dr. Weiss tried to use stem cells to fix patients' eye problems. These doctors injected stem cells into patients' eyes. Some patients went blind to one extent or another. The above article gives a full description of these doctors' dishonest behavior.

It's really too bad that Dr. Levy and Dr. Weiss turned out to be scam artists. I was really hoping that their stem-cell treatment could help my mother. I was even looking into hiring a private air ambulance or a private ground ambulance to transport my mother from Chicago to Florida.

 


Larrytherunner
Posted: Sunday, May 30, 2021 12:43 PM
Joined: 2/26/2016
Posts: 242


Jim, thanks for doing the research and warning us. It seems that Florida is the epicenter for medical scams in the US. Another tipoff is that patients should not be charged for participating in a legitimate clinical trial.

I have mentioned many times before that clinicaltrials.gov is not doing a good job of checking out these announcements to see if they are legitimate. 

Another problem is that the reader can not determine if the trial has FDA supervision. Many of these clinical trials are company sponsored and done for marketing purposes and no government agency is monitoring their results.

You can try to contact a state agency in Florida that deals with medical fraud. Hopefully they have one. Federal agencies may not want to help if it does not involve insurance fraud.


Hop2it
Posted: Tuesday, June 1, 2021 1:55 PM
Joined: 5/30/2021
Posts: 1


Hi,

My husband has Young onset Alzheimer’s and I also contacted the same trial.  I was shocked to find out about the cost!  I did find an article about for profit stem cell clinics using ClinicalTrials.gov as a marketing tool.  It's so concerning that these trials are still on the site.  Thanks for posting the information.


Larrytherunner
Posted: Wednesday, June 2, 2021 2:23 PM
Joined: 2/26/2016
Posts: 242


I reported the listing to clinicaltrials.gov by filling out a form in "Ask the help desk" section. Maybe they will do something about it.