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Thread: 60 Minutes Report on Sunday

  1. #1

    Default 60 Minutes Report on Sunday

    Yesterday, 60 Minutes again reported on stem cell scams. I was really curious to see what many think about it on this forum.

  2. #2

    Default My opinion

    More and more clinics are popping up, and unfortunate, many are quacks preying on vulnerable desperate patients. Interesting enough, that 60 minutes will only focus on fraudulent clinics. Well, rightly so they should be exposed. It is despicable.

    However, their report blankets with a message that all overseas clinics are quacks. Their reasoning, it is not FDA approved, or in the U.S., etc… It is a minefield out their, but there are a few clinics that are not quacks. Interesting enough, that Duke is conducting clinical trials for autologous UCB treatments. Dr. Kutzenberg does not mention at all that many of her patients have improved. None of this is mentioned in the report. The other big elephant in the room is the FDA taking a precedence in deciding to categorize autologous stem cells as drug, I think 60 Minutes misinforms the public with half truths.
    Last edited by LLL6521; 01-09-2012 at 11:03 AM.

  3. #3

    Default Dr. Kurtzberg

    I thought that Dr. Kurtzberg gave a strange interview. She herself was apparently doing stem cell treatments prior to her initiating a formal clinical trial with the FDA. She also apparently is charging some patients for treatment. She says there is no evidence yet that stem cell therapy works and that it could be 10 years before we will see real cell therapies that are working and safe. I found accounts back to 2003 of patients being treated by her. By now, she should be accruing some "evidence" I would think.

    The Robertson Foundation donated 10.2 million dollars to the Duke Cell Therapy Center to support her efforts and yet she has reportedly charged parents of CP children $10-15,000 and possibly more for treatment.

    The 60 Minutes program was critical of what Ecklund, Morales and Stowe did and rightly so, but I found it strange that they would then ignore the good work being done around the world and accept Dr. Kurtzberg as the expert when she herself was evidently doing clinical research on humans,
    prior to her formal application to initiate a clinical trial with the FDA.

    There are posts on this forum and in several news accounts from parents of children of CP discussing her treatments prior to 2010. Many parents had their children treated and some were pleased with the results, others were critical. The accounts I have read were from parents hoping that the treatments would work. They sounded like accounts from anyone that has experimental treatment. There was no mention of any formal clinical trial. Some were having to raise money because the treatment was expensive.

    It would be nice to have some answers from Dr. Kurtzberg as to why it appears she was doing the same thing prior to 2010 that other clinics are now doing and she is criticizing. It would also be good to know if she is still charging for her experimental treatment.

    If anyone has information on Dr. Kurtzberg that they would like to share, please do so. I think we are entitled to know about her as much as about the others featured in the program.
    First treatment in 2007. Pioneering ever since.


  4. #4

    Default Half truths


    I found the report poked with half truths. In my research for my own son’s stem cell treatments, I exchanged emails with Dr. Kurtzberg and her assistants two years ago. In question was the efficacy of donated UCB for treatments, and she adamantly claimed that such treatments are dangerous, unless you use autologous UCB stem cells, which was the treatments she was conducting. She also claimed that any overseas clinics are dangerous and potentially fatal. I asked her politely, if she had done any research to prove her claim about donated UCB. She never responded.

    As for 60 Minutes, I recall years ago a report of a big tobacco whistle blower being suppressed. They feared lawsuits and major ads being pulled. Now a day, you see more and more drug commercials than ever before. It just makes you wonder.
    Last edited by LLL6521; 01-10-2012 at 10:46 AM.

  5. #5


    I am disturbed as well by some of the things I am finding out as well. I will update more when I have had a chance to check things out in a more thorough manner.

    You may not have received an answer from her because there was no proof. That's what galls me about those that condemn all other research and patient treatments. I am not stating that Dr. Kurtzberg does not have the evidence, but if she does, it should be made known to the public.
    First treatment in 2007. Pioneering ever since.


  6. #6

    Default More information that Dr. Kurtzberg told me

    I just wanted to add some more important feedback from Dr. Kurtzberg and her team two years ago. As mentioned before in the thread, Dr. Kurtzberg and her assistants claimed that donated UCB stem cells can only be administered after chemotherapy is given to the patient and all of the bone marrow is destroyed. It is only then that the donated stem cells would work and not be rejected by the patient. According to her, the procedure is way too dangerous for fragile child with CP like my son. In other words, donated stem cell treatments will not work at all, and the only option for treatment was patients own UCB stored in a bank. It was then that I asked Dr. Kurtzberg for any evidence or on-going research to prove this, and I never got a response. I figured this would be important information for everyone to know.

    She has been preaching this to many patients, media, and researchers in the field. As a prominent researcher from Duke, everyone has been receiving her statements as gospel like 60 Minutes.

  7. #7

    Default Open Letter to Producers of 60 Minutes

    I agree with Dr. Kurtzberg that using chemo to destroy a child's immune system would be highly risky. However, I believe you got no response from her because there is no proof that donated uc stem cells will not work. I also question the statement you said she made about all offshore clinics being dangerous and potentially fatal. Blanket, unproven statements like that are when I have to question how informed someone is that would say such a thing.

    I received the following from someone in the scientific community who is also involved in research and treatment of CP patients. I believe it brings up some valid points. You can find many more articles on Dr. Kurtzberg's treatment of CP patients prior to 2010 by doing an internet search.

    Open Letter to Producers of 60 Minutes


    We must commend you on an informative piece exposing what appeared to be one charlatan taking advantage of despaired patients. Disturbingly, the same unethical practice that the conman in the show was accused of, eg selling unproven medicine to despaired families, is the same practice that Dr. Kurtzberg appears to have been engaging in: According to two independent news sources, the Batavia Republic, and the LA Times, cerebral palsy patients were charged by Dr. Kurtzberg $10,000 and $15,000, respectively for the 20 minute procedure of injecting them with cord blood stem cells. Most disturbingly, both of these articles were from before June 2010, which is the date that Dr. Kurtzberg reported to the Federal Clinical Trial Registry that she initiated a formal clinical trial on cord blood stem cells for cerebral palsy.

    Therefore, we are having problems understanding Dr. Kurtzberg’s position. On the one hand in the interview it is stated that “Dr. Kurtzberg told us there's no evidence yet that stem cells can treat cerebral palsy”, and said “I personally think we're 10 years away from seeing real cell therapies that are working and are safe, but I do believe it will come.” But on the other hand, she is making families pay out of pocket for their children to be treated with “unproven therapies”, and accepting a $10.2 million donation from the Robertson Foundation to support her efforts in cord blood stem cells.

    If there really is “no evidence yet that stem cells can treat cerebral palsy”, then should she not perform animal studies first before experimenting on little children? To our knowledge, the first animal studies using stem cell based approaches for cerebral palsy were from Indiana University in 2009 by Dr. Keith March’s group What gave Dr. Kurtzberg the right to begin human experiments before animal experiments were completed? What scientific training does a hematologist/oncologist have to justify her to treat a neurological disease?

    We respectfully seek to Producers of the 60 Minutes Show to make a statement disclosing that the clinical trials performed by Dr. Kurtzberg are based on unproven therapies and requesting her not to charge funds for patients treated by her. Without these disclosures, we feel that Dr. Kurtzberg is a highly refined equivalent of the conman on which the show was based on.
    First treatment in 2007. Pioneering ever since.


  8. #8

    Default Excellent Open Letter


    Excellent letter!!! Once again, thank you. We will all benefit from everything you do.

  9. #9


    Thank you LLL6521. I am going to post the letter in the Spotlight section as well. I have sent it to the producer who I was in contact with. In 60 Minutes defense, it has to be difficult trying to understand what is going on in the stem cell industry. I am sure that Dr. Kurtzberg is doing good work and that she is held in the highest regard in many circles, however, that does not mean that hers is the only word on which anyone should rely. It does not mean that there should be no questions asked as to why what she has been doing is any different from others as the letter states.

    Working at a university or being a doctor should not give one immunity from scrutiny. Since she has been treating patients at least since 2003 according to online accounts, then I would think that she might have mentioned this when interviewed and let the public know if she was having success or not. Like I said, I thought the interview with her was very strange.
    First treatment in 2007. Pioneering ever since.


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