I’ll admit it: this is just cool! Notice the political and ethical comments from the Texas Tribune:
The governor’s procedure did not involve embryonic stem cells, which he and many other conservatives ardently oppose using for medical research on both religious and moral grounds. His treatment involved removing his own adult stem cells from healthy tissue and injecting them back into his body at the time of surgery, with the belief that the cells would assist tissue regeneration and speed recovery.
The FDA, which is in litigation over its authority to regulate new stem cell clinics, has not approved the use of adult stem cells for anything other than bone marrow transplants, which have been used for decades to treat cancer and sickle cell anemia patients. This has largely kept doctors from openly advertising these stem cell injections, but not from capitalizing on them by offering the therapy to their patients.
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.”
In the weeks since the procedure, the governor has traded his cowboy boots for orthopedic shoes and donned a back brace, raising questions that his recovery may be slow-going. Still, he has traveled extensively; in an interview with The Associated Press last week, Perry said he felt 80 percent recovered and was swimming and using the treadmill.
As for the high cost of such stem cell injections, Miner said that whatever health insurance didn’t pay for, “Perry did.”
In Perry’s procedure, his doctor, Houston orthopedic spine surgeon Stanley Jones, said he pulled stem cells from fatty tissue in the governor’s hip, left the cells to expand in culture for several weeks at a Sugar Land lab, then injected the cells back into the governor during his back surgery, into the spine and into Perry’s blood stream.