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StemEnhance - CAMcheck

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Posted 03 February 2012

StemEnhance, being sold in South Africa via MLM methods, is a product of Stemtech International.

This product is marketed mainly around the hyping up of the scientist, Christian Drapeau, their Chief Science Officer. The product claims to be “the world’s first all-natural supplement documented to support the release of adult stem cells from bone marrow.” The claims are 1. that StemEnhance releases stem cells from bone marrow, and therefore, 2. that because stem cells have a beneficial effect on the body, that StemEnhance therefore has a beneficial effect.

This is simply sheer nonsense. Firstly, there is absolutely no sufficient proof that StemEnhance releases stem cells in any significant levels, or if it does, whether these stem cells make any significant difference in the body.

In plain language, there is insufficient evidence to confirm that StemEnhance has ANY effect on the body. These are facts and not suppositions. Any claims are purely hypothetical.

Does StemEnhance release a sufficient amount of stem cells? The study that StemEnhance bases all their “proof” of efficacy for their product was elegantly deconstructed and shown to be extremely poor as far back as 2007 on this blog

Furthermore we have purchased StemEnhance and had it analysed for two important toxins, known to occur commonly in algae. Surprise, surprise, we found high levels of arsenic and microcystins!

So not only is their insufficient evidence to confirm that this product works, but their is unsafe toxins present.

A second critical point: In medicine, and in particular in stem cell research, when a very clinically worthwhile finding is published, a flood of researchers from around the world try to reproduce that finding, or at least get involved in furthering work around that finding. Since Drapeau publication in 2007, absolute silence! Yes, NO other stem cell researchers have paid ANY attention to StemEnhance or the published paper!


A word on Christian Drapeau. He is an author on a number of research publications on stem cells (most on animals). The studies conducted to date (February 2012), is insufficient to support the claims for StemEnhance. Although Christian Drapeau has bona fide university qualifications, it is our contention that there is a deliberate strategy to portray him as a leading scientist in stem cells and that he is ahead of his time.

The same “branding” has been done with a number of other “scientists”: but being a bona fide scientist does not mean their claims can be believed. For example, In 1987 Peter Duesberg questioned the link between HIV and AIDS in the journal Cancer Research. Prof. Duesberg is a member of the United States National Academy of Sciences and a professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of California, Berkeley. He continues to question this link and continues his activities within the AIDS denialist community.

Until sufficient evidence of StemEnhance’s ability to release stem cells is published in peer-reviewed journals, and until these specific stem cells are shown to have efficacy, the product needs to be be considered as a scam. Extraordinary claims requires extraordinary evidence.

Postings of StemEnhance or stem cells on this blog:

July 2010: Stemenhance, legal in the USA?

July 2010: StemEnhance (explains what this product is)

June 2010: Stem cell charlatans

Sept 2009: StemEnhance: ASA Appeal ruling

April 2009: StemEnhance: 1st ASA ruling

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Here is a list of research articles published on StemEnhance to date: February 2012

Although the articles below may appear impressive, they are actually in scientific terms inadequate to confirm the claims for StemEnhance! (They have also never been independently reproduced)

Cell Cycle. 2010 May;9(9):1819-23. 
Mobilization of bone marrow stem cells with StemEnhance improves muscle regeneration in cardiotoxin-induced muscle injury. Drapeau C, Antarr D, Ma H, Yang Z, Tang L, Hoffman RM, Schaeffer DJ.
STEMTech HealthSciences, Inc., San Clemente, CA, USA. cdrapeau@stemtechmail.com

Bone marrow-derived stem cells have the ability to migrate to sites of tissue damage and participate in tissue regeneration. The number of circulating stem cells has been shown to be a key parameter in this process. Therefore, stimulating the mobilization of bone marrow stem cells may accelerate tissue regeneration in various animal models of injury. In this study we investigated the effect of the bone marrow stem cells mobilizer StemEnhance (SE), a water-soluble extract of the cyanophyta Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA), on hematopoietic recovery after myeloablation as well as recovery from cardiotoxin-induced injury of the anterior tibialis muscle in mice. Control and SE-treated female mice were irradiated, and then transplanted with GFP(+) bone marrow stem cells and allowed to recover. Immediately after transplant, animals were gavaged daily with 300 mg/kg of SE in PBS or a PBS control. After hematopoietic recovery (23 days), mice were injected with cardiotoxin in the anterior tibialis muscle. Five weeks later, the anterior tibialis muscles were analyzed for incorporation of GFP(+) bone marrow-derived cells using fluorescence imaging. SE significantly enhanced recovery from cardiotoxin-injury. However, StemEnhance did not affect the growth of the animal and did not affect hematopoietic recovery after myeloablation, when compared to control. This study suggests that inducing mobilization of stem cells from the bone marrow is a strategy for muscle regeneration. PMID: 20404540

Anticancer Res. 2009 Jan;29(1):443-7. The stem cell mobilizer StemEnhance does not promote tumor growth in an orthotopic model of human breast cancer. Drapeau C, Ma H, Yang Z, Tang L, Hoffman RM, Schaeffer DJ. STEMTech HealthSciences, Inc., 1011 Calle Amanecer, San Clemente, CA 92673, USA. cdrapeau@stemtechhealth.com

Bone marrow-derived stem cells (BMDSC) have been implicated in tumor formation, though it is not clear whether they contribute to tumor growth. A novel mobilizer of BMDSC (StemEnhance; SE) was used to investigate whether its daily administration promotes tumor growth. Forty mice were surgically transplanted with human MDA-MB-435-GFP breast cancer into the mammary fat pad of nude mice, The mice were gavaged for six weeks with 300 mg/kg of SE. Tumor growth was monitored using live whole-body fluorescence imaging. At the end of the study, tumors were excised and weighed. At the start of the feeding trial, tumor areas for both control and experimental group were statistically identical. Tumor growth rate was slower in the SE group (p = 0.014) when compared to the control group. After 6 weeks, tumor areas were 40% larger in the control p < 0.01) and mean tumor weight was 35% smaller in the SE-treated group (0.44 g vs. 0.68 g; p = 0.031). Feeding of SE did not promote tumor growth but rather reduced the growth of human MDA-MB-435 breast cancer.

PMID: 19331184  [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

J Med Food. 2007 Sep;10(3):435-41. Natural killer cell activation and modulation of chemokine receptor profile in vitro by an extract from the cyanophyta Aphanizomenon flos-aquae. Hart AN, Zaske LA, Patterson KM, Drapeau C, Jensen GS. NIS Labs, Klamath Falls, Canada.

The present research was designed to study the effects of an extract from the edible cyanophyta Aphanizomenon flos-aquae on human natural killer (NK) cells. We have previously shown, using a double-blind randomized placebo-controlled crossover design, that ingestion of 1.5 g of dried whole A. flos-aquae resulted in a transient reduction in peripheral blood NK cells in 21 healthy human volunteers, suggesting increased NK cell homing into tissue. We have now identified an extract from A. flos-aquae (AFAe) that directly activates NK cells in vitro and modulates the chemokine receptor profile. NK cell activation was evaluated by expression of CD25 and CD69 on CD3-CD56+ cells after 18 hours. Changes in CXCR3 and CXCR4 chemokine receptor expression after 5-60 minutes were evaluated by immunostaining and flow cytometry. AFAe induced the expression of CD69 on CD3-CD56+ NK cells, induced CD25 expression on 25% of these cells, and acted in synergy with interleukin 2. NK cells enriched by RosetteSep (StemCell Technologies Inc., Vancouver, BC, Canada) were not activated by AFAe, indicating that the NK activation was dependent on other cells such as monocytes. The low-molecular-weight fraction <5,000 of AFAe was responsible for the most robust NK cell activation, suggesting novel compounds different from previously reported macrophage-activating large polysaccharides.

PMID: 17887936  [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Cardiovasc Revasc Med. 2007 Jul-Sep;8(3):189-202. Mobilization of human CD34+ CD133+ and CD34+ CD133(-) stem cells in vivo by consumption of an extract from Aphanizomenon flos-aquae–related to modulation of CXCR4 expression by an L-selectin ligand? Jensen GS, Hart AN, Zaske LA, Drapeau C, Gupta N, Schaeffer DJ, Cruickshank JA. Holger NIS, 601 13 Avenue NE, Calgary, Alberta, Canada T2E 1C7. gitte@holgernis.com

OBJECTIVE: The goal of this study was to evaluate effects on human stem cells in vitro and in vivo of an extract from the edible cyanobacterium Aphanizomenon flos-aquae (AFA) enriched for a novel ligand for human CD62L (L-selectin).

EXPERIMENTAL APPROACH: Ligands for CD62L provide a mechanism for stem cell mobilization in conjunction with down-regulation of the CXCR4 chemokine receptor for stromal derived factor 1. Affinity immunoprecipitation was used to identify a novel ligand for CD62L from a water extract from AFA. The effects of AFA water extract on CD62L binding and CXCR4 expression was tested in vitro using human bone marrow CD34+ cells and the two progenitor cell lines, KG1a and K562. A double-blind randomized crossover study involving 12 healthy subjects evaluated the effects of consumption on stem cell mobilization in vivo.

RESULTS: An AFA extract rich in the CD62L ligand reduced the fucoidan-mediated externalization of the CXCR4 chemokine receptor on bone marrow CD34+ cells by 30% and the CD62L+ CD34+ cell line KG1A by 50% but did not alter the CXCR4 expression levels on the CD34(-) cell line K562. A transient, 18% increase in numbers of circulating CD34+ stem cells maximized 1 hour after consumption (P<.0003). When 3 noncompliant volunteers were removed from analysis, the increase in CD34+ cells was 25% (P<.0001). CONCLUSION: AFA water extract contains a novel ligand for CD62L. It modulates CXCR4 expression on CD34+ bone marrow cells in vitro and triggers the mobilization of CD34+ CD133+ and CD34+ CD133(-) cells in vivo.

PMID: 17765649  [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]

Med Hypotheses. 2002 Oct;59(4):422-8. The use of in situ bone marrow stem cells for the treatment of various degenerative diseases. Jensen GS, Drapeau C. Holger NIS Inc., Port Dover, Ontario, Canada.

The potential for tissue repair and regeneration is encouraging in the light of novel research on the plasticity of adult stem cells. Intense research efforts over the last 3 years have provided solid evidence for the continuous generation of many types of tissue cells from adult stem cells as a normal part of our physiology throughout development and adult life in mammals, including humans. This opens new therapeutic avenues for many clinical problems and provides alternative opportunities at a time when much attention has been brought to the issue of using embryonic stem cells for research purposes and for the development of treatments for various diseases. Embryonic stem cells are pluripotent cells characterized by nearly unlimited self-renewal and differentiation capacity. However, evidence has accumulated over the past few years, indicating that adult bone marrow stem cells might have pluripotent properties similar to those of embryonic stem cells. Based on a review of the literature we propose the hypothesis that in situ mobilization of stem cells from the bone marrow and their migration to various tissues is a normal physiological process of regeneration and repair and that therapeutic benefits can be generated with less invasive regimens than the removal and re-injection of stem cells, through the stimulation of normal stem cell migration. We further propose that effort should be made to identify natural compounds characterized by their ability to augment this normal process of mobilization and re-colonization of bone marrow stem cells for the potential treatment of various degenerative diseases. 

PMID: 12208182  [PubMed – indexed for MEDLINE]


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