Friday could be a big day in Texas for supports of stem cells treatment as a Texas agency will vote on whether to enact new rules that will allow doctors to offer experimental treatments using adult stem cells, a rule that will not require federal approval.
The new stem cells rules were drafted by the Texas Medical Board which licenses and disciplines doctors. The plan came about after Dr. Stanley Jones of Houston, Texas injected Gov. Rick Perry with his own stem cells in July in order to help with his back injury recovery.
Governor Perry appoints all members of the Medical Board and he has personally been pushing the agency to create new rules that allow adult stem cells to be used in various treatments. The process involves removing a patient’s stem cells and then reinserting them in the hopes of aiding muscle, nerve or blood cells that have been damaged by various diseases including multiple sclerosis and cancer.
In a letter Perry sent to the president of the Texas Medical Board in July he wrote:
“It is my hope that Texas will become the world’s leader in the research and use of adult stem cells.”
In the meantime critics complain that the new rules will give doctors too much control over stem-cell procedures that haven’t been proven to be effective or in some cases may be dangerous.
In some cases the procedures have already proven successful such as bone-marrow transplants. In other cases unproven treatments can cost thousands of dollars with vary outcomes.
In a statement the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) which controls issues of stem cells treatment said:
“Our position on stem cells remains the same. The FDA has regulatory authority over human cells, tissues and/or cellular and tissue-based products.”
Doctors would be able to bypass the FDA approval when they meet specific conditions set forth by the Texas medica board.