The Wisdom of Oz

Visualize the surreal image of Oprah Winfrey, Michael J Fox and Dr. Mehmet Oz, wearing purple surgical gloves, sitting on stage around a human brain. Dr. Oz explains the absence of Nigro-Striatal Neurons in the brain of Parkinson’s patients while lifting out partially dissected chunks of brain and placing them into Michael’s shaking hand.

The camera zooms in as Dr. Oz steadies Michael’s hand in his. Dr. Oz weaves an intimidating, steel needle between Michael’s gloved and trembling fingers and illustrates the procedure for injecting stem cells into the brain by plunging it both into and through the quivering cerebellum. Michael’s legs spasm and contort and my stomach clenches empathetically with what I sense is Michael’s extreme discomfort, but is really a symptom of his condition.

And yet, NOTHING could have prepared me for what happened next as Dr. Oz, unbelievably and without prelude or warning, makes the stunning statement:
“I think, Oprah, the stem cell debate is dead.”

“The problem with embryonic stem cells is that embryonic stem cells come from embryos, like all of us are made from embryos, and those cells can become any cell in the body, but it’s very hard to control them and so they can become cancer.”

While astonished by his public announcement, I soon began to wonder: “why did Dr Oz only briefly allude to the potential of iPS cells and the proven benefits of adult stem cell treatments?” And then it became clear.

Dr Oz recognizes that the average person on an American street is led to believe, “a stem cell is an embryo is a stem cell”. Due to years of misleading media saturation, as far most Americans know, there are no other stem cells besides embryonic. Walk down the street and ask someone “what is an adult stem cell…what is an iPS cell”, and your inquiries will surely be met by blank stares.

So in retrospect, what Oz DID do, was truly…amazing.

Shunning the history of the love/hate affair Americans have with Embryonic stem cell research and ignoring the majority of US media over the past 5 years, the decrees of President Obama’s funding policies, the positions of the FDA and AMA and the fruitless decade long public pursuit of embryonic cures undertaken by Michael J Fox (with the benevolent and optimistic spirit of Christopher Reeve hovering over him) and before the bewildered eyes of Michael, Oprah and ~7.2 million viewers, Dr Mehmet Oz nailed the coffin shut on ESC treatments:
“I think, Oprah, the stem cell debate is dead.”

With this one simple statement on national TV, Dr Oz has taken the first step towards educating the American public about the current insurmountable limitations of embryonic stem cells and cracked open the door to the American collective mind-set regarding the potential of iPS cells and the reality that Repair stem cells (RSC) have been treating diseases around the world successfully for a decade. Despite the fact that thousands of American doctors refer to RSC as “snake oil,” more and more American patients are realizing that the US medical system is faltering, dated and just not working while the greatest medicine the world has ever seen is available just beyond the borders of their own country.

The seeds planted by Dr Oz will take a long time to find purchase in the collective American mind-set. There is too much embryonic momentum, media and drama, and America loves drama. Embryonic stem cells will not go away and like Romeo and Juliet, this love/hate affair may have to run its course for most, despite Dr Oz stealing the “distilled liquor” and Romeo’s poison and dagger in an attempt to avoid all of the deaths at the end of this play.

To read more about this grim fairy tale: https://repairstemcell.wordpress.com/2009/03/30/a-grim-fairy-tale-americas-doomed-love-affair-with-embryonic-stem-cell-research-intro-the-romance-is-an-illusion/

One step at a time we will climb this mountain and slowly open American eyes to improve their knowledge of treatment options so all can intelligently exercise the freedom of choice in their individual medical care. One inch at a time, Oz wisely created a pathway to an amazing new world of available medical treatments for what were previously believed to be incurable diseases and are in fact treating patients successfully around the world.

Dr Oz took this first step and it was a HUGE first step!

So from where I am sitting, I would like to express my heartfelt and sincerest appreciation for Dr Oz’s bravery, statements and actions. Thank you, Dr. Oz and thank you Oprah; for allowing this sage doctor the forum to break the walls restricting millions of Americans from the knowledge of the medical treatment options they so unquestionably deserve.

Here is the actual transcript based on my ears and fingers and a lot of patient rewinding:

“I think, Oprah, the stem cell debate is dead.”

“The problem with embryonic stem cells is that embryonic stem cells come from embryos, like all of us are made from embryos, and those cells can become any cell in the body, but it’s very hard to control them and so they can become cancer.”

“I can take a little bit of your skin, take those cells, get them to go back in time so they are like they were when you were first made, and then they will start to make that dopamine & I think those cells, because they won’t be as prone to cancer & because they’re your genes will be the ones that are ultimately used to cure Parkinsons.”

“I think we are single digit years away from making a big impact in the lives of Parkinson’s disease but also diabetics, heart disease, people who have had a lot of problems.”

To see the original video: http://www.oprah.com/media/20090319-tows-dr-oz-brain

  1. Dr. Oz’s comments were from early in 2009. You must have never even looked at the Miura K et al. Nature Biotech. paper from AUGUST 2009. That’s the most recent, and I challenge you to quote me a more recent publication that says otherwise. In fact, iPS cells from some adult mouse cells resulted in more and larger teratomas than embryo derived ES cells! Take a look at the data. Yes, the paper dealt with mice cells, though injected human iPS cells also cause teratomas in mice.

    ES cell research will continue regardless of what Dr. Oz says. And now, I have to get back to the hood.

    • We don’t have to. The chief scientist at Weller Health pulled this off over two years ago — patent pending. He and his team created a way to take liver or skin cells and transform them into pluripotent stems (“induced pluripotent stem cells” or iPS in technical parlance).

      Click to access StemCellMedicineJumpstoWarpSpeed.pdf

      Now, mind you, many major research centers have done this very thing, typically by activating specific genes in the liver or skin cell using viruses or what one might call “harsh chemicals” (Chemicals that can cause changes in the cell that might lead to it becoming cancerous). What makes Chauncey’s approach so different is that his method does not employ viruses or “nasty chemicals” to do so.

      BTW, independent scientists at UC-Santa Barbara and UCLA recently reviewed the full patent — and both called the method valid and literally revolutionary. According to Chauncey full pluripotency has been achieved with no tumor formation following transplant in lab animals. Additional, extensive lab experiments will be conducted, of course.

  2. While iPS cell technology is very promising, there will continue to be a need for embryo derived ES cells for research in the near future. The statement by Dr. Oz (cardiac surgeon, not stem cell scientist) incorrectly implied that there is no cancer risk with iPS cells, when in fact both ES and iPS cells can lead to tumors. Federal funding for the derivation and study of ES cells will be critical to the advancement of regenerative biomedical research.


    “…Teratoma-formation of SNS from embryonic fibroblast-derived iPS cells was similar to that of SNS from embryonic stem (ES) cells.”

    • While that may have been true previously, iPSC can now be developed with no tumor risk because they come from adult cells like skin cells instead of tumor producing embryonic cells. Regardless, 97% of the posts on this blog focus on the safe and successful use of adult or repair stem cells to treat diseases. These are the only stem cells currently treating diseases successfully and safely.

      Adult or repair stem cells have no incidence of cysts or tumors and do not require immunosuppressive drugs and most importantly, their proven history of success is based on thousands of peer reviewed papers and clinical trials and patients treated around the world. One last point…the adult/repair stem cell data is based on humans whereas the publication you sited is based on mice.

  3. Icarly

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: