Cure or Snake Oil?

I was being bombarded with the multiple bait ads popping up regarding stem cell research, recovery, and this dude, Kris Boesen. The ads claimed that Kris regained some use of his arms/hands after being injected with a ton of stem cells. I thought to myself, “Why would only this one place know about the cure. Where’s the news coverage? Why aren’t the gimp groups jumping on this?” Every share, like, and ad led to the same place; California Institute for Regenerative Medicine (CIRM). The CIRM was created in 2004 after California’s Prop 71 created the agency in efforts to aid progress in stem cell research. They received a whopping $3 BILLION in funding for CIRM to distribute through grants. It seemed legitimate, but it didn’t answer my questions about this Boesen kid and claims of a cure.

I started researching the claims made by CIRM’s grant recipient, Asterias Biotheraputics. First off, one thing they conveniently leave out is that you have to have had your spinal cord injury within the last 30 days. For those of us who have watched the progression of stem cell research, that’s not a big surprise. I think we can all agree, the new injury thing is less important than the results. The real question is if there is even a true impact from the stem cells? I had to find out if there was actual regeneration that would have not happened otherwise.

Here’s the problem, I can’t find any hard facts. They claim that the stem cell injection improved the patient’s ASIA level, specifically their hands and arms. The issue with the claim is they don’t go into detail, therefore it’s impossible to determine what actual regeneration occurred or if it was merely the natural recovery process.  They are also only taking people with Spinal Cord Injuries between the fifth and seventh vertebrae. I have a C-5 injury and the natural progress I made is not different from the claims Asterias's stem cell research team made. I wanted to ask them directly so I called their media line, and you can’t get through because it hangs up on you after a few minutes. I wrote the contact listed under the study information on Asterias’s site, and I’ve heard nothing. I tried to hunt down the two quadriplegics they claim to have helped, and they are nowhere to be found.

It seems as though the results are not as promising as they claim. I’m not saying this is fake. I’m merely saying we need to question when someone is claiming a cure but it’s not being picked up by national media. If there is a real cure it will be all over CNN, FOX, and so on. Upon further research I found claims and requests to investigate CIRM and how they issue grants. The claims stated they chose people who had ties to the board, and not based on the most promising research. It’s important for us to watch where this funding is going, because ultimately it affects us.


 Kris Boesen, one of the stem cell research participants

Kris Boesen, one of the stem cell research participants

Gina Schuh