A nation of stem cell miracles? CNN puff piece on clinic patient & Trump blows it

CelltexWould you believe in a stem cell miracle?

Sometimes the mainstream media stumbles in its coverage of the stem cell world and a recent CNN puff piece on a patient of stem cell clinic Celltex is a prime example of just how extreme this can get.

The CNN piece focuses on a Celltex patient who self-reports perceived big improvement after receiving the non-FDA approved offerings of the Texas stem cell clinic. Celltex is most famous for their number one customer and supporter Rick Perry, former Governor of Texas and now DOE Secretary in the Trump administration. For more background on Celltex including the warning letter it received from the FDA, you can see archived posts here.

CNN stem cells

Jacqueline Howard of CNN wrote about how the patient was invited to and attended Trump’s big speech before Congress recently. Howard mostly blew it on this article as she provided no background on the controversy involving Celltex, its past run in with the FDA, and how its offerings that it sells to patients are not FDA-approved as safe and effective. Minor details, right?

What about the fact that these kinds of treatments cost the average patient thousands of dollars, sometimes tens of thousands of dollars? Not important enough to mention?

And risks? No mention. The reality is that using adipose stem cells grown in a lab has sizable risks. Continue reading

Rick Perry resigns from stem cell clinic Celltex, where he earned $175K

Rick Perry stem cellsFormer Texas governor Rick Perry, now the Trump Department of energy (DoE) nominee, has a long association with the Texas stem cell clinic, Celltex. He was a patient of Celltex, which some years back infused Perry with non-FDA approved stem cells.

The company received a warning letter from the FDA and since that time has sold its stem cells in Mexico away from FDA oversight. Perry has been a long-time supporter of Celltex.More recently he has served on the Celltex board and reportedly earned $175,000 from Celltex for his consulting. Big stem cell bucks.

Now reportedly Perry has resigned from the board of Celltex and other businesses to avoid possible conflicts of interest as he hopes to take the helm of the DoE, a department he indicated he wanted to eliminate some years back apparently shortly after he had surgery and got a Celltex stem cell treatment, possibly having been impacted by pain medication. This was his famous “oops moment”.

There’s a reasonable chance that Celltex will be able to resume clinical operations within the U.S. in the next four years and/or potentially get an IND. I’ve heard something about the latter through the grapevine in the last few years and an IND could be a positive step.

Many are wondering what the Trump Administration’s policies on stem cells will be ranging from adult to embryonic stem cells. Could Perry, if he joins the administration, influence its approach to stem cells? FDA policies?

Rick Perry’s Sticky Stem Cell Problem for 2016

Rick Perry stem cellsI 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.