Why Is Rick Perry Touting FDA-Unapproved Experimental Stem Cell Treatments? Snake Oil of the 2010's?

Okay for Me But Not For Thee

Why Is Rick Perry Touting FDA-Unapproved Experimental Stem Cell Treatments? Snake Oil of the 2010's?

5 August 2011 at 9:37:47 AM

Saw via the Texas Tribune the other day that, when Rick Perry had his back surgery done (which necessitates now wearing orthopedic shoes) , he also had an experimental non-FDA stem cell treatment done.

The possible presidential contender didn’t reveal that he’d undergone an experimental injection of his own stem cells, a therapy that isn’t FDA approved, has mixed evidence of success and can cost upwards of tens of thousands of dollars.

It was the FIRST TIME that doctor had done it, and lo and behold, now Perry wants to Bring That Back to Texas. I'm guessing he wants to use Texas Taxpayer money via the Texas Enterprise Fund to game this up.

It also hasn’t stopped Perry from pushing for adult stem cell research and industry in Texas. During the governor’s 2009 State of the State address, he called on state leaders to invest in adult stem cell companies. Later that year, his Emerging Technology Fund awarded a $5 million grant to the Texas A&M Health Science Center Institute of Regenerative Medicine and $2.5 million to Helotes-based America Stem Cell to develop new adult stem cell technology.

Last month, three weeks after his adult stem cell treatment, Perry wrote a letter to the Texas Medical Board, which is considering new rules regarding adult stem cells, saying that he hoped Texas would “become the world’s leader in the research and use of adult stem cells.” He asked board members to “recognize the revolutionary potential that adult stem cell research and therapies have on our nation’s health, quality of life and economy.”

Now, I got to wondering. Would this expensive, up to 10,000 bucks treatment have been covered by health insurance? I doubt it since the FDA has not approved it. So did Rick Perry pay for the 10,000 bucks out of his own wealthy pocket or did he cut a deal to promote stem cell treatment in return for getting it for a cheap rate or free?

Would Rick Perry be fine with YOU getting non-FDA approved pills or treatments? Does Secessionist Rick not recognize the AUTHORITY of the FDA?

Some years back I wanted to get my eyes zapped to get rid of glasses. At the time, probably in the late 1990's, the treatment was not approved by the FDA. Although the doctor doing it was in Duncanville, a number of us flew to Vancouver for the week to get it done, because it was legal in Canada. But I presume the doctor might have been fined, or worse, if he had done the procedure in the US.

I also, although I can be corrected, seem to remember that for a long time the *morning after* pill was not approved by the FDA in the US, although it was widely available outside of this country. If a pharmacist had decided to sell a non-FDA approved drug, would that have been okay?

Here's from USA Today last week which, in reading, seems to be about the latest version of a Traveling Medicine Show. Nobody REALLY knows if the stem cell treatments even really work; there are no clinical trials to point to that prove the efficacy of someone getting your stem cells and reinserting them in you.

Kaptchuck says medical history is filled with studies in which sugar pills and sham surgery out-perform the real thing, a phenomenon called the "placebo effect." The placebo effect is especially potent in surgery, he says, noting more than 100 studies in which "people do wonderfully on the placebo." In one powerful example, he says, a researcher tracked patients for two years after half had real surgery and half had a sham procedure for arthritis of the knee.

The patients who had fake surgery, Kaptchuck says, "were hopping around, doing great. There was no difference between the sham surgery and the real surgery." He adds: "When you go under the knife, it's like going to a shaman. The only difference is that there are no feathers, there are machines and test tubes."

An Internet search for "stem cells" will turn up a roster of doctors who offer purported stem cell treatments. Most use adult cells from the patients themselves. No one knows how safe or effective the procedures are, researchers say, because few, if any, of the doctors now offering them to patients have tested them scientifically.

There's a lawsuit pending over all this.

FDA regulations have loopholes, Goldstein says. FDA guidelines limit its authority to regulate treatments involving cells that are withdrawn from a patient and then infused the same day with only "minimal manipulation." Last August, in a test of its authority, the FDA requested an injunction from the U.S. District Court in Washington, D.C., to block a Broomfield, Colo., orthopedic clinic, Regenerative Sciences, from formulating treatments of cultured stem cells.

The clinic's medical director, Christopher Centeno, says he has repeatedly sued the FDA, arguing that these treatments fall within FDA guidelines for the practice of medicine. The FDA countered with its own lawsuit. The dispute won't be decided until 2013, Centeno says. The FDA declined to comment because the case is pending.

Doesn't this practitioner sound like a charletan?

Jaber says his patient — who had triple bypass surgery June 1 — sought his stem cells at The Brain Therapeutics Medical Clinic in Mission Viejo, Calif., run by osteopath David Steenblock, who advertises on a website called StemcellMD.org.

Steenblock says he treats patients with heart disease, diabetes, stroke, seizures, Parkinson's disease, cerebral palsy, Lou Gehrig's disease (ALS), kidney failure and chronic lung disease. He refers some patients to a clinic in Mexico.

Steenblock's record is anything but unblemished. California Osteopathic Medical Board records show that the board revoked Steenblock's license in 2009 for gross negligence, excessive prescribing and dishonesty while treating a stroke patient with hyperbaric oxygen, which is also controversial. The revocation was stayed; Steenblock may continue to practice medicine, but he was placed on five years' probation, during which he was required to take a course in medical ethics. Steenblock acknowleged the judgement against him, but said his license is "unfettered" and he's appealing the ruling.

Steven Nissen, chief of cardiology at the Cleveland Clinic, was so incensed when Jaber told him about his stem cell patient that he fired off a letter of complaint to the FDA. Jaber says he was interviewed by FDA investigators.

But I guess, if Rich Rick Perry doesn't care about approval or legality, or whether he's taking the latest version of placebo, fine. He can join the troup of people for whom science is a joke. But why should he be pushing this on Texas? Somebody needs to do some digging and find out which one of his campaign contributers is he beholden to.

Update -More on Rick Perry's Strange Stem Cell Surgery

RNL Bio, the Korean firm that cultured Perry’s cells, is “kind of an outlaw company,” Hedrick says, with a record of two patients dying after stem cell treatment and little clinical medical research to back up their claims. Part of the issue is that RNL’s method for obtaining stem cells—growing them in cultures developed from the patient’s fat—is risky and increases the potential for contamination.

“We believe [culturing] lowers its utility and makes it more dangerous,” Hedrick says. “You take something that’s naturally occurring in the body and turn into something that’s not naturally occurring.”

Hedrick also said that injecting the stem cells into the patient’s bloodstream, which was part of Perry’s reported treatment, would have little affect.

“The way it was delivered, it probably ended up going to the lungs and the cells died in a few days; it probably had no effect whatsoever,” Hedrick says. One of the patients who died undergoing this procedure was killed by a blood clot in his lungs.

Update: Seems that Rick Perry pushed a bill that would aid the company founded by the physician that did the procedure.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry, who recently underwent an experimental injection of his own adult stem cells to relieve back pain, pushed a bill through the Legislature in June that paves the way for a company co-owned by his doctor to become the first state-approved "bank" to store and cultivate such cells for medical treatment, according to internal emails and corporate records obtained by NBC News.The measure, which was adopted without any public hearings, could prove a financial bonanza for Celltex Therapeutics Corp. — a Houston company headed by Stanley Jones, the surgeon who injected the cells into Perry, and David G. Eller, the former chairman of the board of Texas A&M University and a longtime political donor to Perry who says he has served as a "strategic" adviser for his presidential run, according to industry officials and scientific researchers who have closely followed the issue.

Perry's role in pushing the stem cell bank bill, at the same time he was receiving injections of stem cells, illustrates two aspects of his record that are drawing increasing attention as he pursues the presidency: his enthusiasm for ideas that are sometimes outside the scientific mainstream and what critics view as his willingness to use the levers of state government to benefit friends and political benefactors.

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Updatin g this. Rick Perry has joined the board of that stem cell company in October 2016. 

Perry left the race before the 2012 South Carolina primary and later acknowledged that continuing to recover from "major" surgery had kept him from properly preparing for a White House run.

But Perry said Thursday that his recovery took longer than originally expected because of rare "neurological fusion" that occurred after the cells were injected.

"I know for multiple parameters that the stem cell treatment had a very positive impact on me," he said.


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