Google bans advertising for unproven stem cell therapies

September 30, 2019

Scientists and organizations developing legitimate stem cell therapies are applauding a change in Google’s advertising policy that will block online ads for unapproved stem cell treatments.

The change prohibits Google advertising for therapies with no scientific basis, as well as ads for treatments based on scientific findings and those in early stages of clinical trials.

GenCure, a subsidiary of BioBridge Global, only works with stem cell researchers seeking approval for therapies through appropriate regulatory authorities, including the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

“Unproven treatments threaten the legitimacy of real medicines and cures in the development pipeline,” said Adrienne Mendoza, Vice President, Global Quality at BioBridge Global. “The general public is unable to fully ascertain the risks or benefits that a potential treatment has, and when advertisements and promotions come to them through trusted mainstream channels, like Google, they could easily fall victim to unproven therapies.”

Deepak Srivastava, president of the International Society for Stem Cell Research and advocate against these unscrupulous therapies, said on the society’s page that the policy is a “a much-needed and welcome step.”

In its announcement of the policy change, Google noted that “bad actors” in the stem cell business have been attempting to take advantage of individuals by offering untested, deceptive treatments.

Paul Knoepfler, a professor and stem cell researcher at the University of California Davis medical school, wrote about the change on his laboratory’s popular blog, The Niche

“Overall, I see the new policy by Google as a positive step and support them taking it,” he wrote. “Perhaps some mainstream media outlets will follow suit and also adopt policies whereby they do not run these risky biomedical ads.”

Earlier this year, the FDA stepped up enforcement of its regulation of unapproved stem cell therapies. In June, it won a summary judgment against a stem cell clinic that was marketing unapproved treatments. The FDA also recently made a video against ads for unproven stem cell therapies.

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