Stem Cell Injections in Mexico Led to Drug-Resistant Infections

Stem Cell Injections in Mexico Led to Drug-Resistant Infections

— Three clients obtained Mycobacterium abscessus infections after medical travel

Sophie Putka
Enterprise & & Investigative Writer, MedPage Today

3 clients established difficult-to-treat Mycobacterium abscessus infections after getting embryonic stem cell injections in Mexico in 2022, scientists reported.

2 guys– one from Colorado and one from Arizona– got the infections in Guadalajara and Baja California, Mexico, from donor embryonic stem cell injections for joint discomfort, reported Minh-Vu H. Nguyen, MD, of National Jewish Health in Denver, and co-authors in Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

The Arizona male (Patient B) had actually gotten an injection for psoriatic arthritis in the best elbow. The Colorado guy (Patient C) had actually had bilateral knee injections for osteoarthritis, and established infections in both knees.

“Historically, stem cell treatments have actually been connected to bacterial infections, and procedure-related infection threats related to medical tourist are understood,” composed Nguyen and co-authors. “Providers and public health firms require to be knowledgeable about the threat for M. abscessus infections from stem cell treatments” not authorized by the FDA, they included.

Formerly, a Colorado female (Patient A) had actually gotten intrathecal donor embryonic stem cell injections, likewise in Baja California, to treat her numerous sclerosis and likewise contracted an M. abscessus infection.

The scientists were just able to get initial isolates from clients A and B, and carried out whole-genome sequencing and phylogenetic analyses, which discovered that the 2 core genomes stood out from recognized dominant flowing clones.

“Given that the isolates recognized from clients dealt with at various, remote centers represent a single clone, the doctors and CDPHE [Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment] think a typical contaminated source (possibly the item, reagents, or devices utilized) for clients A and B,” kept in mind Nguyen and co-authors.

The Baja California centers where clients A and B were dealt with were 167 miles apart.

According to the CDC, M. abscessus is a far-off relative of the germs that triggers tuberculosis and leprosy. “People with open injuries or who get injections without proper skin disinfection might be at danger for infection by M. abscessus,” the firm kept in mindThe mycobacteria is discovered in water, soil, and dust, and has actually been understood to pollute medications and other medical items.

M. abscessus is fundamentally drug-resistant and quickly growing, according to Nguyen and co-authors, which can make it difficult to treat with prescription antibiotics usually utilized to deal with skin infections. Signs can consist of fever, chills, and muscle pains.

The Arthritis Foundation advises utilizing care in thinking about stem cell injections. “It’s essential to understand that no stem cell interventions are presently authorized by the FDA for any kind of arthritis or joint injury, although you might see ads for them and check out celebs getting these interventions,” they composed in a publication on factors to consider for clients

Centers providing stem cell treatments both in the U.S. and abroad can frequently target susceptible clients, recommending that the unverified treatments can deal with persistent or incurable conditions. An examination by MedPage Today in 2015 discovered that clients were being hurt by autologous stem cell injections being offered as part of a “scientific trial.”

The 3 clients are getting continuous care since March 28, and no extra cases have actually been determined. The CDPHE tried to call the centers that carried out the stem cell injections, however did not get an action.

According to Nguyen and associates, the next actions will consist of carrying out whole-genome sequencing on brand-new samples acquired from client C, sharing the info, and continuing to try to find other cases.

  • Sophie Putka is a business and investigative author for MedPage Today. Her work has actually appeared in the Wall Street Journal, Discover, Business Insider, Inverse, Cannabis Wire, and more. She signed up with MedPage Today in August of 2021. Follow


Nguyen reported monetary relationships with Oregon Health & & Science University.

Co-authors reported monetary relationships with Insmed, RedHill Biopharma, Paratek Pharmaceuticals, AN2 Therapeutics, Spero Therapeutics, MannKind Corporation, Bugworks, Juvabis, Genentech, Pfizer, Otsuka, Eli Lilly, AstraZeneca, Hyfe, Matinas Biopharma, Nob Hill Therapeutics, Zambon, the Patient-Centered Outcomes Research Institute, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, the FDA, and the NIH.

Main Source

Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

Source Reference: Nguyen MH, et al “Potential break out of extrapulmonary mycobacterium abscessus subspecies massiliense infections from stem cell treatment centers in Mexico– Arizona and Colorado, 2022” MMWR 2024; DOI: 10.15585/ mmwr.mm7318a3.

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