The future of stem cell therapy in Texas

SAN ANTONIO -- Texas became the first state to allow chronic and terminally ill patients access to stem cell therapy.

During this last legislative session Governor Greg Abbott signed stem cell therapy bill HB 810 into law.

Stephanie Cowley credits stem cell therapy to saving her life. "To be on my feet again and not have paint, it's kind of a miracle to me, " said Cowley.

Cowley suffers from multiple sclerosis, and says at one point she couldn't even get out of bed. Cowley says traditional medications were not working so she decided to try stem cell therapy.

For several years Cowley has working with a bio medical firm in Houston.

"They arraigned to store, bank, and expand my cells.” For the last several years Cowley has been taking her own stem cells to Mexico to have them put back into her body.

"I'm almost up to 2 billion cells over that time period, and with every therapy I get some other benefit."

Now that the law has passed, Cowley says she's anxious for what's to come.

“I think it needs to be all hands on deck, and all of us not just stop and say well we passed a law let's see how those with deep pockets got find a cure, " said State Senator Jose Menendez.

There are critics of the law, including the International Society for Stem Cell research who wrote a letter to lawmakers over the summer,

saying in part: Historical data show that most experimental therapies that initially look promising based on early clinical trials subsequently fail, proving to be either unsafe or ineffective in phase II and phase III clinical trials.

"We wanted the Medical Board and the Health and Human Services to have some oversight of who would be doing this obviously you want to make sure that you’re not allowing for a market of people to sell false hope , " added Sen, Menendez.

The Texas Health and Human Services Commission tells News 4 san Antonio the agency is the process of delegating the Department of State Health Services to implement the rules for HB 810. "Typically, the rule making process is lengthy and includes public input. In general, it takes about 6-9 months on average to finalize and adopt new rules, " said Christine Mann, a spokesperson with the HHSC.

Cowley says she's waiting on the day her stem cell therapy is a drive, not a country away.

News 4 San Antonio also reached out to the University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, in a statement , a spokesperson says, “Research of adult stem cells at UT Health San Antonio is preclinical (not in humans), and the institution is making no predictions about the future of experimental stem cell technologies."

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