Which country do you think is a paradise for quackery? Where do you think can you easily buy utterly unregulated “stem cell” treatments from questionable doctors?
It’s Germany. Meet a stem cell entrepreneur in Frankfurt area, right in my neighbourhood.
Around a decade ago, Germany sought to regulate it’s burgeoning quack therapy market. Until then, every bored doctor and medical scientist was free to experiment on their patients with utterly untested, unsafe and unscientific therapies, using the compassionate use or hospital exemption loophole. Basically, if you have a patient with a manageable but incurable condition (e.g., a tracheostoma due to a damaged airway), you could just bullshit them into agreeing to such an experimental tracheal transplant.
German authorities were unable or uninterested to stop this practice. Universities and hospitals endorsed it because it brought money and fame. Compassionate use/hospital exemption loophole is great: unlike with a clinical trial which are well regulated and independently supervised, you can publish any lies about your private human experiments. Long after that patient dies, you can parade them as alive and cured in your research publications. If someone checks facts, just sue them. This is what happened in the case of tracheal transplants of Macchiarini- trained couple Heike and Thorsten Walles in Stuttgart.
Apparently, too much went wrong in German hospitals under such exemptions. So the state regulated it, around 10 years ago. Now hospitals must obtain a permission for their hospital exemptions from Germany’s central authority, the Paul Ehrlich Institute (PEI). That is a good step. But what still happens in the private clinics on the other hand, defined as “Individueller Heilversuch” (individual healing attempt, compassionate use), that is entirely unregulated. As PEI informed me, these treatments require no approval from PEI, the authority doesn’t even need to be informed that these are being done. Basically, the quacks are free to treat as many people as they like with whatever trash therapy they feel like.
The only thing such an enterprising German doctor with a private clinic needs, is an approval from a different state authority – for production, storage and application of their “stem cell” product. The authority is the respective federal state’s Regierungspräsidium, a kind of administrative council. To get their approval is a walk in a park, provided your product is not too dangerous as such. This is also why the “stem cell” company Ticeba in Heidelberg is still happily not just supplying services to customers in Germany and abroad with a bullshit “stem call” therapy, but even successfully expanded into running clinical trials with German university hospitals. Seven years after I tried to alert the authorities, Ticeba’s business and their standing with German academic partners is flourishing.
Now meet another stem cell enterprise, ANOVA in Offenbach, in cycling distance from where I live. It’s owner is a Prof. Dr. mult. Michael K. Stehling, who describes himself as:
“Michael K. Stehling, MD, PhD – University Professor of Radiology, Jerusalem University Visiting Scholar. Stehling served as Research Assistant to Sir Peter Mansfield, Prof. of Physics and Nobel Prize winner in Medicine in 2003 for discoveries concerning Magnetic Resonance Imaging) and thereafter completed his doctorate work in Echo Planar Imaging. The ANOVA Institute for Regenerative Medicine was founded in 2016 by Prof. Michael K. Stehling.”
Since there are no online records of him at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem, I asked Stehling what this “Jerusalem University” is supposed to be, but he didn’t reply. The German medical council records list Stehling as “PD Dr. med. habil. PhD (Nottingham) Michael Stehling“, meaning he is not a professor, only has a so-called “habilitation” degree from some (likely German) university. Prior to that, Stehling got an MD degree in Germany and did a PhD with Mansfield at the University of Nottingham. I wonder what the late Nobelist would have made of Stehling’s current business activities with “stem cells”, but knowing how certain Nobelists tick, I think Sir Peter would fully approve.
So what treatments exactly do Stehling and his ANOVA Head of Stem Cell-based Therapies, Prof. Dr. Johannes Atta (professor at same elusive Jerusalem University, I wonder?), have on offer? There was a press release in 2020, otherwise proceed to their website:
“The ANOVA IRM in Offenbach, Germany treats, among other conditions, orthopedic conditions such as osteoarthritis, acute orthopedic problems such as knee injuries, torn tendons and ligaments, back injuries, and spinal cord injuries. Furthermore, we offer stem cell-based treatments for MS, ALS, Parkinson, other chronic and inflammatory diseases such as rheumatoid arthritis as well erectile dysfunction and anti-aging programs.”
Erectile Dysfunction? Dear reader, I know this peaked your interest, and this is how the cure works for ED, via “Secretome/Exosomes“:
“Over the past few years, particular enthusiasm has developed for stem cell-based therapies in the urological field, especially for the treatment of erectile dysfunction. Several pre-clinical studies have researched the application of stem cells for urological conditions, particularly bone marrow stem cells (BMSC) and adipose-derived stem cells (ADSCs) for the treatment of ED in animal models, summarized by Soebadi et al. in 2016.
In cases of acute ED, the mechanism of repair effected by stem cells is assumed to be on a paracrine level. In chronic ED, however, the effect of stem cells may be mainly based on engraftment and cellular differentiation. The exact mechanism of how stem cells improve erectile function in chronic ED is still not fully solved.
MSEC – Mesenchymal Stem Cell Secretome – Exosomes – Autologous
Patients with a prolonged history of ED symptoms are usually treated with MSEC (secretome, exosomen, EVs) of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC, AD-MSC, adipose-derived, fat-derived stem cells) which we harvest from the patients belly in a mini-liposuction (very brief and limited liposuction) under slight sedation. Worldwide, ANOVA is the first stem cell clinic to acquire legal permission form the responsible governmental authorities and therefore, offers high quality, safe and legally-controlled autologous (own) exosome-containing secretome.”
I asked the responsible Regierungspräsidium in the Hessian city of Darmstadt if they really issued such a permission. I wrote on 3 February 2022, and my email was ignored. The follow-up email was ignored as well. So on 15 February I wrote again, now directly contacting the lead officials. Right away, the head of press office Guido Martin replied, and he didn’t sound too pleased having to communicate with me, and neither did he seem interested in the information I supplied. At least Martin announced I would receive a reply from the responsible department.
On 29 February, almost two weeks passed, and no reply came. I sent a reminder which went unanswered until today, 9 March 2022. So you see how German authority watches over things. Their real job is to foster and to protect German medical quackery industry. The health ministry of the state of Hesse declared to me to have nothing to do with this all, and suggested I inform the state’s medical council where PD Dr. med. habil. PhD (Nottingham) Michael Stehling is a paying member.
Good to know Stehling’s work is in agreement with the public health authorities. Come to visit Germany, get your virility back, don’t forget to bring money! It seems, the fat cells from your flabby belly will be injected straight into your flaccid cock:
“…we can, in contrast to many other clinics, deliver the stem cells with image support, e.g. using CT, precisely to the affected area. This means we can inject into and at the site of damage or cause to specifically and quickly trigger an effect where needed.”
Having restored your virility, you should also consider Prof Dr Dr Dr Stehling’s “Anti-Aging and Rejuvenation” offer, which is exactly the same belly fat cells therapy as for erectile dysfunction. These are injected 10-20 times, presumably into your wrinkly face. According to Anova website though, for whole body therapies Stehling’s team don’t inject the fat cells as such, but the whatever liquid supernatant these are stored in: “a cell-free MSC stem cell-based therapy, which is the Stem Cell Secretome.” Elsewhere, Anova reiterates “This method does not rely on direct stem cell transplantation, and it doesn’t have to“, which may explain why the therapy was approved by German authorities. There is officially no cell material being injected into patients, just some saline buffer or culture medium. Except that Anova website openly advertises for injection of “stem cells”.
Here, locally patient’s own extracted bone marrow cells are apparently injected, despite website’s underlined insistence “ANOVA does not use BM-MSC“. This injection is supposed to
cause cure chronic joint inflammation and make you agile:
“Autologous (self) BMC are our main therapy option for locally-restricted inflammatory conditions as it is a one-donation-one treatment option.
In such cases we treat specifically this region or these joints with targeted, localized BMC injections. BMC contains autologous meaning patients own, adult stem cells (hematopoietic and mesenchymal stem cells in natural composition) which we isolate and concentrate from your pelvis crest in a short process under slight sedation.
These stem cells are supposed to inhibit the inflammation thereby relieving you from pain and to stimulate regeneration of the joint cartilage or bone.”
You got rid of your wrinkles, your joints feel youthful and strong, your prick is stiff again, but what to do about your bald head? Worry not, you can get your bald melon polished with your own blood:
“PRP is a comparably inexpensive experimental therapy as platelets (thrombocytes naturally containing growth factors and stimulants) are isolated from autologous (own) blood without isolation of stem cells. For anti-aging, we use PRP often in combination with BMC and is administered in-between BMC treatments to continuously support the anti-inflammatory effects. Besides this, PRP is well-known as a stimulant for wound healing for skin or as a measure against hair loss.”
Well, I am really the last person to stop some vain rich old gits and their wives from injecting anything they want into their wrinkly mugs, saggy arses and flaccid cocks.
But Stehling’s ANOVA also sells stem cell therapies to desperate patients suffering from incurable neurological diseases. On offer are treatments for:
- Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS)
- Parkinson’s Disease (PD)
- Multiple Sclerosis (MS)
These are treated, you can probably guess, with the same magic belly fat stem cells Stehling uses to treat other diseases:
“As ALS [or PD, or MS, otherwise same text for all -LS] is a chronic, so far not curable disease, we on-goingly treat patients with early to mid-stage ALS with MSEC (secretome, exosomes, EVs) of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC, AD-MSC, adipose-derived, fat-derived stem cells) which we harvest from the patients belly in a mini-liposuction (very brief and limited liposuction) under slight sedation.”
And of course Prof Dr Dr Dr Stehling can cure broken spines, making paraplegic invalids walk again.
It’s truly high-tech:
“Since 2019 we co-operate with Cyberdyne Care Robotics
Whilst ANOVA is the first institution worldwide to have obtained a permit for the production of and treatment with mesenchymal stem cell secretome by the legal authorities,
Cyberdyne has developed the HAL exoskeleton for neuro-functional feedback training.
The REMCell treatment, the first combination of neuro-regeneration with stem cells and the neuro-functional training with the HAL exoskeleton, promises to get many paralyzed patients out of their wheelchair – and takes neuro-rehabilitation to the 21st century.”
Spinal cord injury (SCI) is easy to fix, again with exactly same “stem cells” from the belly fat Stehling uses to cure everything else:
“Depending on the type of SCI we either treat patients with MSEC or BMC or a combination of both. MSEC (secretome, exosomes, EVs) of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC, AD-MSC, adipose-derived, fat-derived stem cells) which we harvest from the patients belly in a mini-liposuction (very brief and limited liposuction) under slight sedation is given intravenously and is meant to act more systemically. Worldwide, ANOVA is the first stem cell clinic to acquire legal permission from the responsible governmental authorities…”
I am sure the officials in the Darmstadt Regierungspräsidium are proud to have played their part in this medical breakthrough. The Anova website doesn’t inform the ALS/MS/PD/SCI patients where their belly fat cells will be injected. Quite possibly into the spinal column, but I am sure the Regierungspräsidium Darmstadt has thought it through, weighted the risks, and approved.
I also wonder where the belly fat cells get injected when stroke patients are treated. I wish Stehling replied to my email to explain, but he never did.
It seems it is the spinal column again, a dangerous procedure, but then again, who am I to question the expertise of Darmstadt officials who approved it.
“Autologous (self) BMC are our main therapy option for locally-restricted and mild conditions as BMC is a one bone marrow donation – one injection treatment.
In such cases we treat specifically this disc or this spinal segment with targeted, localized BMC injections. BMC contains autologous meaning patients own, adult stem cells (hematopoietic and mesenchymal stem cells in natural composition) which we isolate and concentrate from your pelvis crest in a short process under slight sedation.”
The bone marrow therapy is of course followed by belly fat cell injection:
“As after stroke the fast treatment is advisable to modulate inflammatory processes and a repeated treatment is recommended for on-going stimulation of regeneration, both treatment types are often combined with BMC for fast treatment and MSEC for continuous treatment over 2-3 months.”
Unsurprisingly, Stehling also can treat Chronic Lyme Disease, just to top it off.
You know the spiel:
“Patients with chronic inflammatory symptoms such as in LD are usually treated with MSEC (secretome, exosomes, EVs) of mesenchymal stem cells (MSC, AD-MSC, adipose-derived, fat-derived stem cells) which we harvest from the patients belly in a mini-liposuction (very brief and limited liposuction) under slight sedation. Worldwide, ANOVA is the first stem cell clinic to acquire legal permission form the responsible governmental authorities”
Unlike the real Lyme Disease, which is a tick-born bacterial infection easily treatable with antibiotics, Chronic Lyme Disease is a made-up malaise which sufferers respond very well to placebo treatments. This is why Chronic Lyme Disease is quite popular with quacks like Christian Perronne.
Now, a piquant bit. If you switch the language setting on Anova website from English to German, most of these stem cell therapies on offer disappear. No Chronic Lyme Disease, no Parkinson’s/ALS/MS, no Anti-Aging, no erectile dysfunction even, you are left merely with offers for arthritis and knee injuries. And the Cyberdyne Robotics exoskeleton plus belly fat stem cell treatment for the paraplegics is still available in German, great news. Presumably, if you want to get the other stuff you must pretend to be a foreigner?
I think Stehling deserves a Nobel Prize in all disciplines for proving biology wrong and evolution stupid. How weird is this, that your own belly fat tissue can cure every single medical complaint, all you have to do is to extract some and inject it into your face, spine, or penis? Maybe these fat cells can even cure obesity when injected back into the belly? If Prof Dr Dr Dr Stehling starts to offer this therapy, I want my commission fee.
But then again, who am I to question the wisdom of the Darmstadt Regierungspräsidium. Thank you your great oversight, ladies and gentlemen.
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