CNN Investigates Controversial Stem Cell Therapies, Just Days After Promoting Similar Therapies

By Alex Weprin 

This weekend on “CNN Presents,” correspondent Drew Griffin will investigate extremely controversial medical clinics that administer unproven stem cell therapies to patients. The special, CNN’s “Selling a Miracle,” will also speak to Dr. Sanjay Gupta and others who voice concerns about the treatments, which have not been peer-reviewed, while also giving viewers a more accurate look at the current state of stem cell research.

CNN could have used Gupta’s skepticism last week, when the network effectively promoted a similarly controversial stem cell therapy on “Piers Morgan Tonight” and “Starting Point.”

The guest on both shows was actress Suzanne Somers, who claims that a miraculous stem cell therapy–with no side effects (always a red flag in medicine)–effectively regrew her breasts after she underwent a lumpectomy. On “Starting Point,” Somers also advocates that cancer patients forgo chemotherapy for testosterone therapy, which has been proven to be ineffective in battling cancer:

Both Morgan and Soledad O’Brien let Somers advocate for the treatments without asking any critical questions. Of course, CNN was not alone. Somers also appeared on Fox News, HLN and other news outlets, none of which questioned the stem cell, or asked about the completely unscientific treatments she advocates in her book.

As the New York Times has noted, every time Somers has a new book, she makes the rounds peddling medical advice, without regard for the safety or efficacy of what she promotes. At least this weekend, CNN will be on the right side of the scientific debate.