Stem cell clinics online: the direct-to-consumer portrayal of stem cell medicine

Cell Stem Cell. 2008 Dec 4;3(6):591-4. doi: 10.1016/j.stem.2008.11.001.


Despite the immature state of stem cell medicine, patients are seeking and accessing putative stem cell therapies in an "early market" in which direct-to-consumer advertising via the internet likely plays an important role. We analyzed stem cell clinic websites and appraised the relevant published clinical evidence of stem cell therapies to address three questions about the direct-to-consumer portrayal of stem cell medicine in this early market: What sorts of therapies are being offered? How are they portrayed? Is there clinical evidence to support the use of these therapies? We found that the portrayal of stem cell medicine on provider websites is optimistic and unsubstantiated by peer-reviewed literature.

Publication types

  • Letter
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Advertising
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities / economics
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities / ethics
  • Ambulatory Care Facilities / trends
  • Biomedical Research / economics
  • Biomedical Research / ethics
  • Biomedical Research / trends
  • Cell- and Tissue-Based Therapy / economics*
  • Cell- and Tissue-Based Therapy / ethics
  • Cell- and Tissue-Based Therapy / trends*
  • Consumer Product Safety / standards
  • Humans
  • Internet / economics*
  • Internet / ethics
  • Internet / trends*
  • Peer Review, Research / ethics
  • Peer Review, Research / standards
  • Peer Review, Research / trends
  • Stem Cell Transplantation / economics*
  • Stem Cell Transplantation / ethics
  • Stem Cell Transplantation / trends*