Top 20 Stem Cell Predictions for 2017

stem cell crystal ball

Stem cell crystal ball

Each year I make a list of predictions for the stem cell and regenerative medicine field for the coming new year. Later in this post I list my top 20 stem cell predictions for 2017. In looking at my past predictions I realized this will now be my 7th year doing stem cell/regenerative medicine yearly predictions.

You can see below links to these predictions for past years, which sometimes seems rather far removed from today and in other cases strike me as strangely apropos of our times.

What will 2017 bring? Below are my top 20 predictions in no particular order except starting with a few hopeful visions for the coming year.

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Rick Perry’s Paid Board Position at Controversial Stem Cell Clinic Celltex

Rick Perry stem cellsIf you rewind the stem cell clock several years, the big news in the stem cell clinic arena was dominated for quite some time by a single stem cell clinic called Celltex in Texas in part because their most famous customer was Governor (at that time) Rick Perry. You can read the many past posts I’ve done on Celltex here.

Today the stem cell clinics are making news more for their sheer numbers (nearly 600 in the U.S. alone), but a few years back Celltex and Perry were stirring things up and getting noticed in large part because they were tangling with the FDA. Celltex and their former partner RNL Bio were cooking up a stem cell product that did not have FDA approval and the agency issued Celltex a warning letter. Perry was a supporter of Celltex.

Now Perry is more than just a supporter or patient of Celltex, he reportedly has a paid position on the stem cell clinic’s board. No longer governor nor running for president, perhaps Perry wants to devote more time to stem cells?

The Celltex of today remains a Texas business, but is selling stem cell treatments only (to my knowledge) administered across the border in Mexico. The change in clinical location was it seems an attempt to get outside the range of authority of the FDA. What will Perry’s actual operational role be? I don’t know. The AP got this quote:

“I’m a big believer in adult stem cells,” Perry told The Associated Press by phone Thursday. “My reputation is important to me and I want to be associated with companies I believe in.”

I actually met and talked with Governor Perry a few years back when Celltex was more on the radar screen and he was still governor. The meeting was down at Scripps in a meeting set up by Jeanne Loring. Several other physicians and scientists were present. He struck me as very excited about stem cells and eager to get businesses to move to Texas.

ABC News has this quote from Celltex on this development:

“Celltex CEO David Eller said in an emailed statement. “Given this passion, it is natural he joined the board of a premier U.S.-based biotechnology company that is known for its unparalleled adult stem cell technology now that he has left public service.”

I’m curious what the future holds for Celltex and every now and then I hear rumors of them potentially doing some treatments in the US or getting an IND from the FDA or something like that.  I did note that at least one of their patients spoke at the recent FDA stem cell meeting.

Anyone heard other news on Celltex?

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.

Celltex advocate Rick Perry will not run again for Texas governor: stem cell impact

Rick Perry stem cellsTexas Guv Rick Perry just announced that he will not run again for governor.

This political development has important impact in the stem cell field, particularly in the state of Texas. Perry is one of the biggest advocates of certain types of adult stem cell commercialization. When he is no longer governor there will be impact on certain stem cell for-profits.

Texas stem cell clinic, Celltex, has had a rough past year including an FDA audit, FDA warning letter, and suspension of their clinical operations. In fact, just a few days ago I reported the news that the FDA is still inspecting Celltex to this day.

One of Celltex’s biggest and most powerful allies is/was Perry, himself a former recipient of a stem cell intervention prepared by Celltex.

About a year ago, I met with Perry in La Jolla and his passion for stem cells was very apparent. The fact that he will be exiting the political arena in Texas cannot help but be more bad news for Celltex.