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Perry Surgery Included Stem-cell Injection

AUSTIN, Texas, Aug. 4 (UPI) — Possible U.S. presidential hopeful Rick Perry received an experimental injection of his own stem cells when he had back surgery, his office confirmed.

The spinal-fusion and nerve-decompression procedure to treat a recurring back injury of the Republican Texas governor included “the innovative use of his own adult stem cells,” Perry spokesman Mark Miner told The Texas Tribune of Austin.

When Perry emerged from the surgery July 1, he posted a message on the Twitter microblogging service saying his “little procedure” had gone “as advertised,” but didn’t mention the non-approved treatment.

Perry’s treatment did not involve embryonic stem cells, which he and many other conservatives ardently oppose using for medical research on both religious and moral grounds, his office said.

His treatment involved removing his own adult stem cells from healthy tissue in his hip and injecting them back into his spine and bloodstream during the surgery, with the belief that the cells would assist tissue regeneration and speed recovery, the newspaper said.

Adult stem cells are undifferentiated cells, found throughout the body, that multiply by cell division to replenish dying cells and regenerate damaged tissues.

Scientific interest centers on their ability to divide or self-renew indefinitely, generating all the cell types of the organ from which they originate, potentially regenerating the entire organ from a few cells.

Some doctors and biomedical engineers swear by the benefits of this relatively new science, but others say there’s still little clinical evidence that it’s effective, the newspaper said.

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration, responsible for protecting and promoting public health, is in litigation over its authority to regulate new stem cell clinics and has not approved the use of adult stem cells for anything other than bone marrow transplants, used for decades to treat cancer and sickle cell anemia, the Tribune said.

Three weeks after his treatment, Perry wrote a letter to the Texas Medical Board, which is considering new adult stem cell rules, saying he hoped Texas would “become the world’s leader in the research and use of adult stem cells.”

UPI - United Press International, Inc.

Since 1907, United Press International (UPI) has been a leading provider of critical information to media outlets, businesses, governments and researchers worldwide.

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