Vincent Dammai, a researcher at the Medical University of South Carolina (MUSC) in Charleston, S.C., has been arrested by the FBI for supplying stem cells for use in unapproved stem cell therapies in violation of federal US Food and Drug Administration laws.

Unproven stem cell therapies are unethical but the hype over human embryonic stem cell research (a backlash of the Bush administration's limitation of federal funding to existing lines in 2001) has made people gullible about what stem cell therapies can do. Many private stem cell clinics rely on scientists in the field who supply cell lines, growth media and other reagents needed to harness stem cells, often unknowingly. "Stem cell tourism" can be reduced by only sharing stem cells and other reagents with those who intend to use them appropriately.

Alberto Ramon, of Del Rio, Texas, a licensed midwife, obtained umbilical cord blood from mothers who had given birth and sold the blood to Global Laboratories of Scottsdale. They sent the tissue to Dammai, who used university facilities to derive cord blood stem cells and then sent the cells back to Global. The owner of Global Laboratories was convicted in August of selling unauthorized stem cell products across state lines.

American scientist arrested in stem-cell clinic sting
by Ewen Callaway, Nature News