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Selling miracles

Cerebral palsy patients are spending thousands on unproven stem cell therapies

Cerebral palsy patients are spending thousands on unproven stem cell therapies

This segment originally aired Nov. 30, 2016, on VICE News Tonight on HBO.

“If you can’t see the difference between a child in a wheelchair and one standing up walking, there’s something wrong with you,” stem cell therapist Dr. David Steenblock told VICE News correspondent Ravi Somaiya in San Clemente, California. “If it’s a placebo, I’ll take it.”

About 600 clinics across the country offer unproven stem cell therapies. The FDA has not yet cracked down on them, and patients who believe the treatments can cure or mitigate the effects of disorders like cerebral palsy are lobbying the FDA to approve the treatments. There is no scientific evidence that the treatments have any long term effects.

If the Trump administration, which is expected to target the FDA, deregulates stem cell clinics, Dr. Steenblock might never have to prove that his treatments work.

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