MS patients await governor's signature on bill allowing adult stem cell therapy
SAN ANTONIO – Some terminally and chronically ill patients are eagerly awaiting the governor’s signature on a bill they believe will help thousands of Texans.
HB 810, known as Charlie’s Law, would allow access to adult stem cell therapy for certain sick people.
Stefanie Cowley of Helotes testified in favor of the bill. She was diagnosed with multiple sclerosis in 2007, was told she was a “no-option patient” in 2011 and in 2014, she began the therapy that required her to travel to Mexico.
Cowley said a Houston company, Celltex Therapeutics, does a mini-liposuction, extracting a few tablespoons of her fat, then prepares the hundreds of millions of stem cells. She then travels to Cancun so a private hospital there can set up an hour-long IV to return the stem cells to her body.
“These are your healing cells,” she said. “These are if you cut yourself, they're your healing cells that go towards that spot to repair.”
“That took my pain levels down from 8-9-10 daily to 2-3-4,” Cowley said.
Charlie’s Law would presumably allow her to access the treatment entirely within Texas, which could become the first state in the country to do so.
Cowley said other conditions such as Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s and even autism could benefit from the treatment, although stem cell researchers caution that large-scale successes have not yet been reported.
David Eller, CEO and Chairman of Celltex Therapeutics, released the following statement:
“Celltex has been actively involved with and following HB810 or Charlie's Law. At this time, there are people in the legal and government fields collaborating to define the legal definition of the bill and how it will affect Celltex stem cell banking and therapy. We expect within the next few weeks, more information will be forthcoming. As the bill stands today, there are still many questions to be resolved regarding the specific type of stem cell therapy applicable to HB810. The type of stem cell therapy is not defined. The approval of the House and Senate in Texas is a step in the right direction, but is still far from a law, which would allow us to provide stem cell banking and therapy in the US.”