Seems like almost every self-proclaimed sales and marketing guru has now officially opened a “stem cell” division. The latest of that crew to help providers sell fake “stem cell” products appears to be Grant Cardone. Who the heck is that? Let’s dig in.
I got the above online ad sent to me by a colleague. It says that you can increase the revenues at your stem cell clinic by 30% within a month. It also claims to have the best sales/office training in the world!
At the start of this deep dive, while I had seen Grant’s video (discussed below) once before when doing research for another blog, I had no other knowledge of Grant. I don’t read self-help books or get into marketing gurus, so perhaps others who get into that stuff know this guy.
How to 10X Your Life!
Grant Cardone is a professional sales guy, self-help guru, and Scientologist. He’s an advocate for using the methods espoused by the Church of Scientology to improve your business and life as he discusses in the video I screenshotted below:
As a result, he wrote a best selling book on how to “10X” your life. Near as I can tell, Grant’s 10X rule to success is to work really hard. See the diagram below:
Diving deeper, his background is in real estate. He has created courses to help people flip houses and runs a fund that invests in rentals and other properties. He also sells books, courses, and online swag. It seems like all of that lead to a TV-style promotional network called “GCTV” which stands for “Grant Cardone TV”. That’s tied to something called “The Entrepreneur Network”. What does all of that have to do with biotechnology and stem cells? Read on…
Grant Cardone and Stem Cells
What comes up first when I Google Grant and stem cells is this GCTV video. These two (a physical therapist and a chiropractor) come to visit Grant because they have a consulting company. Now first, this is not the impromptu meeting that it appears to be, as there are multiple camera angles here, so this is a professional video production made to look like a casual recording of a meeting. Also, in talking to a professional videographer, this shot into that bright window is almost impossible to pull off. Meaning either this is a studio or this was shot with a very pricey RED camera or both.
One of the themes of the video is that these two are selling a revolutionary treatment that will end the opioid crisis. The miracle cure they describe is amniotic and cord blood “stem cell” IV drips (which someone in Arizona taught them how to deliver).
The chiropractor says, “The amniotic part of the placenta is immune privileged, which means it’s not yet coded to anybody’s DNA which means it can be used in anybody and without consequence.” So is any of what the chiropractor tells Grant about “stem cells” true? Nope.
Fake Stem Cell Products
As you have seen on this blog many times, we now have lots of evidence that the commercially available amniotic and umbilical cord blood products that are being used in clinics like the one described in the video have no living or functional mesenchymal stem cells (1-3). Here’s the latest test from CSU:
The 5 umbilical cord products on the left have no stem cells (pure white) and middle-aged and old people’s bone marrow on the right has lots (purple). So if Grant is helping clinics like the one he highlights in his video sell 30% more fake “stem cell” treatments in a month, that’s a big problem.
Perhaps one of the more ridiculous claims that chiropractic offices offering fake “stem cell” therapies make is that they can hook someone up to an IV of an amniotic tissue or umbilical cord blood and that treatment not be rejected by the patient’s immune system. That, of course, is false (4-6). Where did this idea come from? The stem cells that can be extracted from live birth tissues (NOT from the products that these clinics buy) were thought to be immune-privileged, but newer research shows that this isn’t even true (7). However, it’s really not true if you’re injecting dead stem cells, as any ability to evade the host’s rejection response depends on living stem cells.
Grant’s Stem Cell 10X Business
The chiropractor and PT claim to have gone to Cardone University and they have some “rockstars” in their organization that can “sell this stuff”. They also claim to have doubled their clinic collections using Grant’s methods. In the video, Grant is forming a plan with these two to add stem cells to chiropractic clinics because he “believes in stem cells more than chiropractic”.
What the Heck is Dave Karli Doing Here?
I know Dave Karli of the Steadman clinic and the two of us (way back when) have published research together (8,9). When I first Googled Grant to find out who he was, a video of Dave came up explaining stem cells. I was so certain at that point that the video must be being used without his permission that I sent an email to him and his staff. However, then I found this:
Here’s a video of Dave stating: “What am I doing? I’m aligning with a brand, Grant Cardone, GCTV, and the GCTV network, that can help my business…” The segment is about aligning with brands to expand your business.
Dave responded that he filmed a bunch of videos for an entrepreneur network. Dave also relayed that while he worked with Grant on some sales training, that had nothing to do with stem cells or biotech. While researching this online, Dave has recorded a large number of videos for the 10X team and Grant Cardone, so I’m still not sure what to make of this relationship. I published Dr. Karli’s response in the comment section below and I added my response.
Sales Gurus and Stem Cells
Sales gurus with books are a dime a dozen. There are countless self-help guys who tell you how to improve your life and your business. They often have become successful because they know how to build social media hype and sales funnels. The most disturbing thing for me is when they move from selling books or helping chiropractors book more adjustments, into selling investigational care or therapies like this which are misrepresented. For me, that crosses a line that should never be crossed.
The upshot? Every sales and marketing guru is now officially in the fake “stem cell” business, helping clinics push these treatments. If federal regulators want to get at the heart of how the regenerative medicine space is spinning out of control, a healthy look at the sales funnels created by Mr. Cardone and many others would be a good place to start.
(1) Berger D, Lyons N, Steinmetz, N. In Vitro Evaluation of Injectable, Placental Tissue-Derived Products for Interventional Orthopedics. Interventional Orthopedics Foundation Annual Meeting. Denver, 2015. https://interventionalorthopedics.org/wp-content/uploads/2017/08/AmnioProducts-Poster.pdf
(2) Becktell L, Matuska A, Hon S, Delco M, Cole B, Fortier L. Proteomic analysis and cell viability of nine amnion-derived biologics. Orthopedic Research Society Annual Meeting, New Orleans, 2018. https://app.box.com/s/vcx7uw17gupg9ki06i57lno1tbjmzwaf
(3) Panero, A, Hirahara, A., Andersen, W, Rothenberg J, Fierro, F. Are Amniotic Fluid Products Stem Cell Therapies? A Study of Amniotic Fluid Preparations for Mesenchymal Stem Cells With Bone Marrow Comparison. The American Journal of Sports Medicine, 2019 47(5), 1230–1235. https://doi.org/10.1177/0363546519829034
(4) Holtan SG, Pasquini M, Weisdorf DJ. Acute graft-versus-host disease: a bench-to-bedside update. Blood Jul 2014, 124 (3) 363-373; DOI: 10.1182/blood-2014-01-514786
(5) Lee SJ. Classification systems for chronic graft-versus-host disease. Blood Jan 2017, 129 (1) 30-37; DOI: 10.1182/blood-2016-07-686642
(6) Socié G, Ritz J. Current issues in chronic graft-versus-host disease. Blood Jul 2014, 124 (3) 374-384; DOI: 10.1182/blood-2014-01-514752
(7) Ankrum, J., Ong, J. & Karp, J. Mesenchymal stem cells: immune evasive, not immune privileged. Nat Biotechnol 32, 252–260 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1038/nbt.2816
(8) Centeno CJ1, Busse D, Kisiday J, Keohan C, Freeman M, Karli D. Regeneration of meniscus cartilage in a knee treated with percutaneously implanted autologous mesenchymal stem cells. Med Hypotheses. 2008 Dec;71(6):900-8.
(9) Centeno CJ1, Busse D, Kisiday J, Keohan C, Freeman M, Karli D. Increased knee cartilage volume in degenerative joint disease using percutaneously implanted, autologous mesenchymal stem cells. Pain Physician. 2008 May-Jun;11(3):343-53.