A federal judge issued an order [June 25] barring a Florida-based stem-cell company from performing an unapproved procedure that blinded at least four patients.
The 16-page injunction from Judge Ursula Ungaro prevents U.S. Stem Cell Clinic from selling a scientifically unproven procedure that uses patients’ fat to create a stem cell treatment.
The order comes three weeks after the judge ruled against the company and in favor of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, which has ramped up its efforts in the past year to rein in the booming and lucrative stem-cell industry.
It is unclear, however, whether the judge’s order — which is narrowly confined to the one company — will lead other stem-cell clinics to stop the practice. In recent years, the fat-based treatment has become widespread since it relies on a liposuction procedure already routinely performed by many cosmetic clinics.
In recent weeks, U.S. Stem Cell said it has stopped selling the fat-based treatment, but company representatives have also made clear they intend to continue selling variations of the stem-cell treatment — using bone marrow and birth-related tissue — that are also unproven and unapproved but are not barred by the court order.
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