At least three multiple sclerosis patients in Canada have brought their concerns about a Winnipeg-based researcher to the RCMP, CBC News has learned.
Doug Broeska had recruited MS patients to take part in an experimental and expensive study involving stem cell injections combined with the widening of veins in the neck — a practice that advocates call liberation therapy.
Broeska was the principal researcher for the experimental therapy, which was being carried out in India, but his credentials as a researcher have been questioned by some of the patients he had recruited.
Patients said they spent tens of thousands of dollars and travelled to India for the treatment, but some claim there was little medical followup. At least one patient said his MS symptoms worsened after the treatment.
Among those who have contacted the RCMP is Florence D'Eon, a retired nurse in Ottawa who went to Europe for liberation therapy. She had no involvement with Broeska's study or the clinic in India.
D'Eon said she believes in the treatment itself, but she became suspicious of claims being published online about Broeska's work and conducted her own research on him.
"The whole thing didn't make sense. The testimonials were so perfect," she said.
"They did due diligence to Dr. Doug and just in the right spots. It's almost like they were professionally written."
An online biography of Broeska states he is "a PhD Medical Researcher and CEO of Regenetek Inc, a Canadian Biotech Research firm working with several hospitals and clinics world-wide to develop medical procedural protocols for neurodegenerative disease management."
In an email obtained by CBC News, Broeska told another patient that his credentials are sound and he is "competent to perform research of this type."
'There was no way to trace him'
Broeska had stated on a LinkedIn profile that he has a PhD at the University of Manitoba, but the university says it could not find a record of him graduating from there. The LinkedIn profile has since been removed.
As well, the International Cellular Medicine Society, of which Broeska claimed to be a member, says it has no record of his past or present membership.
"You see these doctors at clinics and conferences. They write papers, they write peer-reviewed publications. They have their MDs, PhD," D'Eon said.
"Doug, there was no date of birth, there was no way to trace him."
D'Eon said she took her findings to the RCMP, but she does not believe the police force has acted on them.
The RCMP has not said if it is investigating the claims.
The ethics committee at the Inamdar Hospital in India, where the experimental treatment was being performed, said it ordered Broeska to step down as principal investigator because his lack of credentials and followup "violated international ethical standards."