stem cell tourism. But US jurisdiction is not particularly tight either, and plenty of for-profit stem cell businesses are operating within US borders, too; most of these facilities are selling treatments without evidence to support them and with mostly unknown safety, but people in their target audiences are often in desperate situations and hence relatively easy prey for such business ventures.
Dennis Courtney is an associate of Edward Kondrot, the self-declared “leading homeopathic ophthalmologist” and a prolific purveyor of nonsense, pseudoscience and quackery. Courtney is in charge of clinical operations at Kondrot’s Healing the Eye & Wellness Center in Florida, where you can be exposed to stem cell therapy using cord stem cells. According to Kondrot “the FDA has approved Cord Stem Cells”; he doesn’t mention that the product he uses is different from the product the FDA approved for a very limited and specific set of conditions that are not identical to the conditions Courtney and Kondrot are targeting. And that really shouldn’t be a minor issue: Kondrot is deliberately engaged in deception about what he is using, and the fact that he feels the need to mislead should really tell you a lot (what Kondrot and Courtney are using is some non-FDA-approved products from something called Burst Biologics.) At least as scary is Courtney’s claim that “we can’t harm you with stem cells. These cells are of such a level of age that they cannot differentiate to any harmful cells. They can’t become a cancer, for instance. That can’t be done with the kind of cells we use. We can only do good. We cannot harm.” Well, there are serious safety concerns with the products that are tested and approved; Courtney’s and Kondrot’s are neither.
Courtney also does podcasts and presentations at homeopathic and integrative medicine conferences about the perceived magic of stem cells. Though Courtney is, indeed, an MD, his commitment to real medicine and patient safety has clearly vaporized somewhere along the way.
Diagnosis: No, it isn’t funny. It is sad, offensive, and potentially dangerous.