We are preparing our protocol to Stem Cells into the Meibomian Glands. Before we being or any patient signs up, it is important to know the pros and cons of beginning Stem Cell research.
The dangers of Stem Cell Clinics is that of these clinics are not operating under an IRB (an Institutional Review Board is a group of researchers, physicians, and patient advocates who meet to carefully review the safety and potential negative consequences of a planned protocol. The one at Harvard was very strict and firm guidelines had to be met in order for any protocol to be passed. Multiple revisions were usually necessary before an IRB was approved for any study). A free-wheeling clinic that does not have an IRB or firm research protocol is a concern: how can you prove you are really helping patients and not doing harm?
The key problem for the FDA and US is that most research in Stem Cell implantation is only begging at the NIH and other places: some are starting in 2018 as mentioned by the researcher below. If Stem Cells really do work to restore function, waiting till 2018 or later to find out if stem cells really work may be too late. Many diseases need to be treated as soon as possible. We are in a race against time to save brain cells in Alzheimers and ALS and meibomian gland cells in Meibomian Gland Disease.
I know many doctors who are using Stem Cell injection which is not FDA approved. All doctors I know use non-FDA approved medicines for the alternative indications (ie, diseases). Usually doctors and researchers are the first to realize a medicine works for another condition even though it was not approved by the FDA. This allows physicians and surgeons to do the best for the patient and this is why I and most of my colleagues went into medicine. We have the best technology in the world in the US. If we see a technology works and it there is little to no risk of harm, most doctors want to give it a try as they would give it a try if it were their body or their child’s body.
This is what I think about Stem Cells. If it were my mom or dad who had ALS or Alzheimer’s or if I had Meibomian Gland Disease, I would have a Stem Cell injection as the risks are minimal at this point.
With the eyelid, the biggest risk of Stem Cell injection into the Meibomian Gland is it does not work. The risk of infection if very rare. I have never seen an infection after Meibomian Gland Probing and the injected Stem Cells also contain some White Blood Cells, which fight against bacteria and viruses. The risk of loss of vision or eye is likely 0% as we are treating the lid and will not be entering the eye. The risk of new cancer is the only risk that is an unknown.