The state Attorney General’s Office has secured $5.1 million against Park Avenue Stem Cell Clinic, an assumed name for Image Plastic Surgery LLC in Manhattan, for deceptive practices that scammed patients out of thousands through false advertising.

Attorney General Tish James also ordered the defendants to end their practices, which charged consumers $4,000 per procedure and up to $20,000 for multiple procedures using the patients’ stem cells to treat lupus, Parkinson’s disease and Lou Gehrig’s disease from 2015 to June 2019.

While there is no breakdown of how many and where in Queens some patients were from, there were indeed victims from the World’s Borough who were allegedly deceived by the clinic located at 346 East 51 St. and Dr. Joel B. Singer, a cosmetic, plastic and reconstructive surgeon and managing doctor, according to the AG’s Office.

The AG’s Office announced the judgment on Nov. 24, describing the clinic as specializing in stem cell therapy using mesenchymal stem cells to treat nonsurgical orthopedic conditions such as arthritis of the knees, hips, shoulders and spine. Other treatments include auto-immune and neurological disorders, stem cell face lifts, hair restoration, erectile dysfunction, urologic disease and cardiac and pulmonary diseases.

MSCs are adult stem cells that can come from human or animal sources and could become bone, cartilage, muscle or fat tissue, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Stem cells are cells with the ability of self-renewal, which is why they have clinical applications for neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s disease or autoimmune diseases like rheumatoid arthritis and are often a subject of modern research.

Despite the potential of stem cells for future use in treating diseases, there is not enough “adequate scientific substantiation” that they are effective in healing the aforementioned diseases, according to the AG’s Office.

One scientific report by Nature.com in 2019 found that despite MSCs potential to help with many diseases, once obtained and even cryopreserved, they tend to lose their efficacy once thawed. The NLM said there was not a large sample size of stem cells or MSCs for researchers to fully determine the full scope of either as a treatment for diseases.

“Misleading New Yorkers who are seeking treatment for serious and potentially life-threatening medical conditions is unlawful and an affront to our societal values,” said James in a statement. “Consumers place a great deal of trust in health care professionals and should receive accurate information when undergoing medical treatments, but Park Avenue Stem Cell and its managing doctor violated that trust in an effort to line their pockets at the expense of patients’ health.”

In the U.S., the only stem cell-based product approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, blood-forming stem cells, has been used for a narrow range of conditions. Judge Andrew Borrok of New York County Supreme Court also ordered that the defendants not market the therapy as a cure.

“We will continue to investigate these types of clinics that shamelessly add to the suffering of these consumers by charging them thousands of dollars for treatments that they know are unproven,” said James in a statement.

For more information on stem cell therapies, visit fda.gov.

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