Gov. Rick Perry wants to put stem cells therapy to the test in Texas

(Stem Cells News image)

Rick PerryIn his latest defiance of the federal government, Gov. Rick Perry is trying to make Texas the nation’s top provider of an unlicensed therapy touted by some as the future of medicine but considered not close to ready for mainstream use by scientists in the field.

Perry this summer worked with his Houston doctor and a state legislator with multiple sclerosis to write legislation intended to commercialize the controversial therapy, which involves injecting patients with their own stem cells. Perry quietly got the therapy as part of back surgery in July.

“With the right policies in place, we can lead the nation in advancing adult stem cell research that will treat diseases, cure cancers and, ultimately, save lives,” Perry wrote the Texas Medical Board on July 25.

The board may squelch Perry’s hope of making stem cell therapy a thriving Texas industry anytime soon. It is scheduled to consider a new policy on Nov. 4 that would prevent doctors from providing stem cell therapy unless they had approval from an independent review committee that assesses research trials for patient safety. Perry’s therapy had no such oversight.

Such a policy likely would head off potential conflict with the Food and Drug Administration, which recently has begun to crack down on stem cell businesses in the United States. The FDA has not approved therapy using adult stem cells because their effectiveness and safety have not been established (…)

The legislation, a bill amendment passed in the special session, would allow private companies to maintain banks that store stem cells taken from prospective patients for future treatment – a service for which Jones’ newly established bank charges $50,000 per patient. The legislation’s original draft was written by Jones and tweaked by Perry, according to correspondence obtained through the Texas Public Information Act (…)

Adult stem cells are cells in the body that multiply to replenish dying cells. They lack embryonic stem cells’ ability to morph into any kind of cell, but in recent years have been found to have more versatility than previously thought and have become the subject of much research.

The research is particularly championed by abortion foes, such as Perry, as an ethical alternative to embryonic stem cell research, which relies on destroyed human embryos.

Scientists hope embryonic and adult stem cells one day become the basis of regenerative medicine, wherein the cells are used to grow new tissue to repair diseased or injured body parts (…)

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