Closer Look: ProPublica Investigates Billion Dollar Stem Cell Industry; Ransomware Attacks Against Local Governments; 75th Birthday Celebration For Award-Winning Author Alice Walker

Promotional banners advertising stem cell therapies on display in the lobby of Dr. Prabhat Soni’s Brooklyn clinic.
Promotional banners advertising stem cell therapies on display in the lobby of Dr. Prabhat Soni’s Brooklyn clinic.
Credit Demetrius Freeman for ProPublica

Monday on “Closer Look with Rose Scott”:

  • 0:00: Rose gives a news brief on reports that there were no arrests or detentions in metro Atlanta by United States Immigration and Customs Enforcement over the weekend. Atlanta was one of ten cities across the country where arrests were expected to begin on Sunday, according to multiple media outlets.
  • In other news, state troopers begin a speed limit enforcement campaign called “Operation Southern Shield” in five states around the south today.
  • 3:46: The Georgia court system’s website was recently restored after being taken temporarily offline due to a ransomware attack earlier this month. Hackers have used similar strategies in cities such as Baltimore and Lake City, Florida this summer. The United States Department of Justice says ransomware attacks have targeted local governments almost every month this year. What can be done to prevent these attacks? And how should cities respond once they happen? Peter Swire, a professor of Law and Ethics at the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business shares his expertise.
Peter Swire, professor of Law and Ethics at the Georgia Tech Scheller College of Business and a cybersecurity expert, discusses the latest ransomware attack on Georgia’s court system website. (Photo credit: Grace Walker)
  • 25:35: Last Saturday, the city of Eatonton and the Georgia Writer’s Museum honored Pulitzer Prize-winning author and activist Alice Walker with a celebration of her 75th birthday. Closer Look was there for the celebration, host Rose Scott recaps the weekend’s events.
  • 34:07: Clinics around the nation now offer stem cell treatments for everything from hair loss to heart failure. Some analysts predict the booming global market will bring in $467 billion by 2024. However, a new investigation from ProPublica found that the stem industry faces little regulation from the United States Food and Drug Administration. As a result, the investigation found that some companies are using deceptive marketing to sell treatments, which lack scientific evidence to patients. Caroline Chen, a reporter for ProPublica and author of the investigation “The Birth-Tissue Profiteers,” joins Closer Look to share her findings.
    Editor’s Note: ProPublica is still looking for stories of those who have donated or helped to collect birth tissue. You can share your story here or email caroline.chen@propublica.org.
Pulitzer Prize-winning author and activist Alice Walker was honored by the city of Eatonton and the Georgia Writer’s Museum with a 75th birthday celebration this weekend. Credit: Julie Yarbrough

Closer Look is produced by Candace Wheeler and Grace Walker. Joy Barge is a contributing producer.