Flouting warning, Florida stem-cell cardiologist has license suspended

Reed Miller

March 08, 2012

Bonita Springs, FL - The State of Florida has suspended the medical license of a cardiologist for allegedly using an unapproved stem-cell therapy after the Florida Department of Health (FDoH) already warned him to cease these treatments[1].

As reported by heartwire , last year the FDoH issued Dr Zannos Grekos (Regenocyte Therapeutic, Bonita Springs, FL) an emergency restriction order, prohibiting Grekos from providing any stem-cell treatment. That order, which did not bar Grekos from seeing patients if he did not provide the restricted treatment, precipitated from charges that Grekos contributed to a patient's death by administering an unproven stem-cell therapy.

Now the state has suspended his medical license completely, charging that Grekos violated the terms of the previous emergency restriction by performing a proscribed stem-cell treatment on an elderly man with pulmonary hypertension and pulmonary fibrosis. The FDoH says the stem-cell treatment included harvesting adipose tissue from the patient's abdomen, concentrating stem cells from the tissue in a lab, and then infusing the concentrated stem cells into the patient's bloodstream. During the treatment at Grekos's Bonita Springs, FL office, the patient suffered a cardiac arrest and died, according to the emergency suspension order filed by the FDoH.

 
There is nothing called a regenocyte.
 

The Naples Daily News reports that the Lee County Sheriff's Office has launched a criminal investigation into Grekos's practice and that Grekos denies any wrongdoing[2]. An administrative hearing on the Grekos license suspension is scheduled for June. It was first rescheduled from January to March and is now rescheduled again because Grekos switched lawyers in January.

According to CNN.com, which has covered the case since 2009, Grekos says that the cells he harvests, which he refers to as "regenocytes," can "heal crippling diseases, mostly associated with lung problems"[3]. However, a spokesperson for the International Society of Stem Cell Research told CNN, "There is nothing called a regenocyte." Grekos conceded to CNN that the name is just "advertising" and not intended to be scientific.

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