I met with Texas Governor Rick Perry, himself a recipient of stem cell transplants, last year to talk stem cells.
He was enthusiastic about stem cells to put it mildly and it was great to talk with him. My impression from meeting with him in person is that he is clearly a very intelligent, energetic, and gifted leader.
But even the best leaders make mistakes and I think stem cells may spell trouble for him in the long run.
Now that he has announced he will not seek reelection in Texas, speculation has ramped up that he is a top contender for the 2016 GOP Presidential Nomination Race.
As with any candidate, Perry has some baggage to deal with for a potential new presidential run.
Perry’s presidential hopeful carry-on bag for the 2016 race has some politically hazardous stem cell history in it that could be trouble.
Right in the heat of the 2012 run, Perry himself received a stem cell treatment via a small Texas biotech called Celltex that has made oversized headlines in part due to having Perry as a customer.
Some folks thought that Perry’s treatment for a back injury, which involved surgery and the stem cells as well as pain meds apparently taken as a result could have torpedoed his 2012 chances. This may have even been responsible for his “oops” moment.
Perry reportedly said of his oops moment:
“I’m glad I had my boots on tonight….I stepped in it out there.”
He stepped in a sticky stem cell mess too that is still on his boots.
Stem cells may very well haunt Perry as he ponders a 2016 run.
It all comes back to that stem cell clinic Celltex.
Perry’s association with Celltex goes beyond the traditional relationship between a patient and the clinic that treated him.
You see, Perry seems to be buddies with the leadership of Cellex including Dr. Stanley Jones and David Eller. Perry was one of Celltex’s biggest boosters and there is little doubt that Perry’s backing helped the clinic. He also pushed for the Texas Medical Board to adopt rules that benefitted Celltex.
Unfortunately, Celltex ran afoul of various federal regulations governing medical treatments, got audited by the FDA, and ultimately had to stop its clinical practice due an FDA Warning Letter (here). The FDA is still investigating Celltex to this day as far as I know and could produce some ill-timed news for Perry’s presidential hopes.
Adding to the stem cell issues are Celltex’s mysterious stem cell operation now going on in Mexico, which may not reflect well on Perry either. There are more questions than answers about Celltex’s supposed Mexico operation, but the answers will come and they may be trouble for Perry.
In the end, while stem cells were supposed to help Perry’s back injury, he may not be able to get stem cell issues off his back during a possible run for 2016.