The medical advisory board of the Pulmonary Fibrosis Foundation (PFF) has issued an updated statement on the use of stem cell/cell-based therapies. The statement, first published in 2015, strongly cautions patients with pulmonary fibrosis against using stem cell treatments outside of an approved clinical trial.

“While studies continue to evaluate the potential use of these treatments, there are
currently no studies proving that they are helpful. Considering the information available,
we strongly recommend that patients not engage in such treatments outside of an
approved clinical trial,” the statement reads.

“We understand that patients are eager to identify therapies that will prevent the devastating effects of their disease,” said Dr. Gregory Cosgrove, Chief Medical Officer for the PFF. “But experimental treatments provided by unregulated, commercial stem cell centers have the potential to cause great harm to individuals who are dealing with this life-threatening disease.”

Several cases of severe respiratory illness resulting from “stem cell” infusions from commercial centers have been identified and reported to federal regulatory agencies. The direct-to-consumer marketing of stem cell therapies currently exaggerate claims of the benefit of stem cells/cell-based therapy without an established record of safety.

“Desperate patients and their physicians continue to succumb to an onslaught of marketing and branding of as yet unproven stem cell treatments,” said Dr. Andrew Limper, Chair of the PFF Medical Advisory Board.

Limper and Cosgrove urged patients to learn about relevant and feasible clinical trials that may be available to them on the PFF website, Specific clinical trials evaluating innovative therapies can be located using the PFF Clinical Trial Finder.

The full statement along with a summary statement can be found here.