Wednesday, 5 September 2012

Chinese cemetery operator invests in stem cell anti-aging?

Let's begin our review of the real Doug Sipp's misinformation machine with his post on a company that decided to invest in stem cells. The post begins with a discussion that Zmay Holdings "plunked down" around 40 million USD for a stem cell technology that involves transforming normal cells into stem cells. However, it's not long before the reader witnesses Sipp launch into an attack on what sounds like pure quackery. For instance, Sipp details that the company is investigating the use of various Chinese herbs to transform these cells. These include bizarre Chinese concoctions like Leech extract and Deer antler. Leeches? Sounds a bit Dodgy, right? After all, Doug authoritatively says, "Forty mil is big money by any measure, especially for a technology that has not been described, or even mentioned, in a peer-reviewed journal - at least not that I could find in English." So is this true? Well not if you spend just a few minutes digging. 

Turns out that there are legitimate scientific research studies behind the use of all of these herbs in stem cell research. For example, Korean mistletoe lectin regulates the self-renewal of mesenchymal stem cells. There are actually four studies on how ginseng effects stem cells. Deer antler is actually a scientific case study in mammalian regeneration (for example, how stem cells rebuild the body after injury). How about leech extract? There are actually 82 studies in the US National Library of Medicine on the search term "leech extract" and it's uses in medicine. In fact, the compound Hirudin, which is what makes up the active ingredient of "leech extract" is a powerful blood thinner. In fact there are 12 research papers under the search terms "stem cells" and "Hirudin". So Doug lied "stretched the truth" when he said he couldn't find any mention of these substances in a peer reviewed journal, as anyone performing even a simple Google search would have been directed to any one of these legitimate studies. 

If real scientists from all over the world are working to see how these natural substances impact stem cells or how they work, why would Doug publicly denigrate a company that wants to follow that lead? Why would Doug fib about the fact that there is research on all of these compounds? Follow the money...

Doug mentions inventor Xiongbin Lin. Who is this? Turns out another simple Google search turns up that he holds 5 patents on stem cells that could be competitive to Doug's bosses Riken's  patent portfolio on stem cells. This one in particular is directly competitive with Riken's patents on iPS cells.

So now Doug's attack on the Chinese company diversifying into stem cell biotechnology comes into focus. Doug is protecting the financial interests of his bosses. As you'll see, as we dissect more of Doug's posts, this seems to be Doug's motivation for many of his attacks. The moral of this little story is do your homework before relying on Sipp as a source for accurate information.