In Winnipeg, Canada, a trial is pending involving a physician and a highly controversial global stem-cell trial. Regenetek is a Canadian company that has been raking in the money by charging about 70 ALS and multiple sclerosis patients upwards of $45,000 for alleged stem-cell treatment in Indian hospitals. According to ethical regulations in both India and Canada, none of these patients should be treated with stem-cell strategies via clinical trials. However Regenetek has been using a web host based out of Utah for its website hosting—which included connecting with potential stem-cell patients. Fortunately, the US web host acted quickly when it was notified of the mounting issues.
The owner of Regenetek is Doug Broeska, who allegedly used fake credentials to get the treatments in India kick-started. He has since been asked to resign his position as Principal Investigator by the India-based ethics committee after being accused of flying in the face of global ethical standards. He has also allegedly manipulated diagnoses, which ultimately may have stopped patients from taking medicines which were prescribed to save their life.
A Tough “Re-Start”
According to Broeska, he’s trying to get his research started again, but this time with new partners. However, he stated that he’s committed to making good on any deposits he was paid by patients. Some of these patients had plans to go to India, but were stopped by “a well-planned and strategic attack perpetrated by our former partners in India with the willing help of a former Regenetek employee, along with the Winnipeg media” according to Broeska. Broeska was quick to launch a new website where he tried to reach out to potential new partners. On the site, he uploaded content saying that he wanted to help those with MS travel abroad (supposedly to India) for “experimental stem-cell treatment,” which is not an option in Canada.
Broeska wrote, “Regarding the few prospective participants who have paid their deposits that were forwarded to India and then refused treatment because they came through Regenetek, we intend to offer the same treatment protocol to them for the price of their deposits once we have aligned ourselves with a new research team. We are working on that and may have an announcement to make shortly.” There are three identified patients, one Canadian and two Australian, who gave Regenetek $20,000 for treatment and had plans to go to India in spring 2015. However, so far these three patients claim their deposits have not been returned.
A Thickening Plot
In response to these claims, Broeska says researchers in India were given the money, and now they are undertaking a “malicious and vindictive” strategy, including hacking into Broeska’s server. However, the Indian team acted quickly and complained to Broeska’s Utah web host. The web host responded by removing the new website, which is standard protocol during such an event.
As the lawsuits pile up and trials pend, it’s unclear whether Broeska will have luck launching another website, attempting to clear his name, or whether or not these patients will ultimately get their deposits returned. However, one thing is certain: Web hosts are on top of smear campaigns and have operating procedures in place should complaints be filed.