Doctors are raising concerns over a back treatment undergone last month by Rick Perry that’s a bit “past the edge” of mainstream medicine. In the procedure, stem cells were removed from the Texas governor’s fat and developed in a lab for injection into his back and bloodstream. It’s a risky treatment that may break federal rules, doctors tell the AP. Perry “exercised poor judgment” in choosing the procedure, says a stem cell expert. “As a highly influential person of power, Perry's actions have the unfortunate potential to push desperate patients into the clinics of quacks.”
Blood clots, infection, and cancer are a few of the risks from the treatment; one patient is known to have died after being infused with stem cells from fat. And since the procedure creates what may be a new medical product, it could violate FDA rules; the agency stepped in to halt a company in Colorado from growing marrow-derived stem cells in this way. What’s more, it’s not yet clear that the procedure actually works. “I would never in a million years accept for one of my family members to undergo this,” says the expert.