Texas Governor Rick Perry opposes embryonic stem cell research. The Republican presidential candidate has, however, shown an open mind toward treatments developed using adult stem cells, which can be collected from a patient’s own body. In fact, he apparently received experimental stem cell surgery on his own back. In the procedure, doctors removed some of Perry’s fat cells, cultured them in a laboratory and injected them into his bloodstream and spine. The procedure appears to have been intended to repair a bad back.
Some doctors believe that fat stem cells could one day be used to generate soft tissue and bone and possibly even assist in the treatment of ailments such as heart disease. But at the moment, this is all hypothetical. Stem cell researchers have been highly critical of Perry’s treatment.
Dr George Muschler, of Cleveland Clinic, said the fat-derived stem cells were “quite controversial because there isn’t good evidence yet, at least in the medical literature, that fat cells work better or even work at all in repairing bones.” Dr Thomas Einhorn, of Boston University, expressed concern that the procedure used to cultivate Perry’s cells could lead to cancer cells, infections or blood clots.
Dr George Q Daley, a past president of the International Society for Stem Cell Research, worried that the governor might be setting the wrong example for ailing patients. “As a highly influential person of power, Perry’s actions have the unfortunate potential to push desperate patients into the clinics of quacks” who are peddling unproven treatments “for everything from Alzheimer’s to autism.”
The story even came to the attention of the Economist. ~ Los Angeles Times blog, Aug 19