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TexasTribFest "Is Texas’ Stem Cell Policy Good for Texans?"

TexasTribFest "Is Texas’ Stem Cell Policy Good for Texans?"

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Published by kehills
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A Texas Tribune Festival stem cell debate between Rep. Rick Hardcastle (R-Vernon, Texas); CellTex executive vice-president Andrea Ferrenz; founder of Texans for Stem Cell Research David L. Bales; and University of Minnesota bioethicist Leigh Turner, held September 21, 2012. Moderated by Scott Braddock.
Transcript
A Texas Tribune Festival stem cell debate between Rep. Rick Hardcastle (R-Vernon, Texas); CellTex executive vice-president Andrea Ferrenz; founder of Texans for Stem Cell Research David L. Bales; and University of Minnesota bioethicist Leigh Turner, held September 21, 2012. Moderated by Scott Braddock.

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Published by: kehills on Oct 21, 2012
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Transcript-IsTexas’StemCellPolicyGoodforTexans?
 ATexasTribuneFestivalstemcelldebatebetweenRep.RickHardcastle(R-Vernon,Texas),CellTexexecutivevice-presidentAndreaFerrenz,founderofTexansforStemCellResearchDavidL.Bales,andUniversityofMinnesotabioethicistLeighTurner,heldSeptember21,2012.ModeratedbyScottBraddock.
Note:AudiobeginsinthemiddleofHardcastlespeaking.
HARDCASTLE:
…willtellyouI’mawholedifferentmanthanIwaswhileIwasprogressingwithM.S.Uh,someoftheonesintheaudiencesawmejumpuponthestagelikethis,aboutnearlyayearago,andtwoyearsago,Icouldn’thavesatdownandcrawleduponthisstage,muchlessjumped.So,youknow,andit’saboutpatientaccessandmakingsuretheygetwhattheypayfor.
MODERATOR:
Uhhuh.Andwhatwesaytheygetwhattheypayfor,we’retalkingaboutand,ofcourse,you’rerepresentingthecompanywherethistreatmentwasdone,inSugarland,talkabout–thecostis$25,000to$30,000–whatdotheygetforthat?
FERRENZ:
Well,firstletmesaythat,uh,weareactuallyalaboratory,soRepresentativeHardcastleandotherpatients,theyhavetoworkwiththeirdoctorandtheirdoctordecidestheirformoftreatment.Soifadoctorbelievesthatstemcelltherapy,particularlythetypeofstemcelltherapyweworkwithinourlaboratory,calledmesenchymalstemcells,iftheybelievethatthatisgoingtobeeffectivefortheirpatient,thentheyessentiallynotifyourlab,theyidentifythenumberofcells,sotospeak,forthepatient.Youasked“whatdoesapatientget?”Thecellcount,thatwecallit,isdirectlytiedtoefficacy,sothatdeterminationofworkingwiththedoctoranddecidinghowmuchtheyneedisanextremelyimportantpartofthis.Anduh,thenwhathappensisthepatientwouldgotoasurgeon,oftheirchoice,andhaveasmallamountoffatremoved.That’sthensenttoourlab,andusingthetechnologythatwe’vedevelopedwithourpartner,wecanseparatefromthatsmallamountoffatthepatient’sownmesenchymalstemcells.Andthencreateduplicatecopiesofit–andittakestime.Thecellsgrowatanaturalrate,sotospeak,youcanthinkofit,andthencoordinatingwiththephysicianisthen,getthepatientscheduledsothatthenthecells,whenthey’reready,canbereturnedtothephysiciansofficeandthenthephysiciangivesthemtothepatient.Sothat’swhattheyget.
MODERATOR:
So,andIthinkyou,it’samisconceptionthatyouwould–asyousaid,you’redealingwithyourdoctor.It’snotlikeyou’redrivingdowntoSugarlandandthenyougorightintoCellTexandgetyourcellsswitchedoutandthenyou’regoodtogo,right?It’snotlikethat?
FERRENZ:
Itdoesn’tworklikethat.
MODERATOR:
It’snotlikeamovie,right?
 
FERRENZ:
Nope,itdoesn’tworklikethat.
MODERATOR:
Ihopewe’resettingthestageaboutrighthererightnow.ProfessorTurner,youhavesomequestionsaboutwhattheydoatCellTex?You’veraisedsomeconcerns?
TURNER:
I’veraisedsomeconcerns,yeah.DoyoumindifItakeastepbackfromCellTexforaminute?Imean,Iunderstandyourquestion,butuh-
MODERATOR:
I’mgoingtomindit,butgoahead.
TURNER:
Ithinkthatwhenwe’retalkingaboutstemcellpolicyinTexasandifit’sgoodforTexans,there’smultiplepoliciesinplay,andit’simportanttokeepinmindthatthere’sdifferentframeworksthatwecantalkabouttoday.I’vebeenveryfocusedonCellTex,butinasense,whenitcomestopublicconversation,Ithinkthere’smuchmoregoingoninTexasthanjustCellTex.Intermsofpolicies,RepresentativeHardcastlehaspushedforwardpoliciesconcerningadultautologousstemcellbanks,sowecouldtalkaboutjustthat.There’stheTexasMedicalBoardandtheirinvestigationalagentpolicy.David,Ithink,isencouragingustothinkmuchmorebroadlyintermsofnotjustsortofmundanelevelofpolicybutsortofavisionofstemcells,ofstemcellresearchinTexas,andIthinkwecanthinkaboutthatasapolicy.AndthenIwouldalsosaythatTexashasaproblem.WhatImeanbythatisthatit’slikeFlorida,California,Arizona,inthatthereseemtobeanumberofclinicsinTexasthatarealreadyadministeringstemcellstocustomers,patients.Insomeinstancestheymaybeincompliancewithstateandfederallaw;inotherinstances,Iwouldsaytheavailableevidenceindicatesthattheyarenotincompliance.Iendedup,beforecominghere,IjustcheckedtoseehowmanyclinicsarethereinTexaswhereyoucanobtainstemcellprocedures,andIendedupfinding20,andthenthreewhatIwouldcallstemcellbanks,thathaverelationshipswithclinics.Andthat’sthepart,tome–it’sthatlastcategorythatIthinkis,inmanyways,mostworrisome.Sosomeofyou,ifyoumayhavenoticed,theHoustonofficehereinTexas,theFBI,justissuesanannouncementthattwoindividualsinTexaspleadedguiltybecausetheywereinvolvedinunlawfuladministrationofstemcells.Andthattomeisespeciallythecategorythat–it’snottheonlypolicy,butit’swhereTexansandotherindividualsaremostvulnerable.
MODERATOR:
Soyouwouldsaythen,thatwhatwe’veheardinvariousnewsreportsandsuchthatstemcelltourism–isthatgoingoninTexas?
TURNER:
Well,there’skindofadual-phenomenontakingplace.ThereareexamplesofTexanscrossingtheborderintoMexico,forexample,orgoingtoothercountriesandgettingaccesstostemcellprocedures.There’salso–somepeoplehavegone
 
online,onYouTube,andthere’saTexanwhopassedawayafterhavingastemcellprocedureinMexico,andsomefriendsofhismadeavideo.There’sotherexamplesofpeoplewhohavenotjustgoneforproceduresbutbeenharmedasaresult.There’salso–whatIthinkisthemorerecentdimensiontoallofthis,isthatTexasitself,it’snotjustamatterofTexansgoingabroadbutthereareclinicshereinTexas,sothatlocalindividualscangothere,andthenpresumablyfromelsewhere,otherstatesintheUS.
MODERATOR:
AndRepresentativeHardcastle,that’sexactlywhatyou’retryingtokeepfromhappening,isthatsortofstemcelltourism,right?Andyoumentionedbeforethatyoudidn’twanttohavetogooutofthecountrytodothis,thatyou’dliketobeabletodoithere.
HARDCASTLE:
I’veinvestigatedalloftheclinicsoutofthecountry,someonthecontinent,someoffthecontinent.Youknowthere’sabsolutelynoreasonwhywecan’tdothishere.TheFBI,thetwomenhe’stalkingaboutwiththeFBI,wereinvolvedwithaclinicinMexico,andsellingstuffacrossthestatelines,whichbringsawhole‘notherpicturetotherealmofthings.Policy-wise,ourwholegoalwastomakesurethatdidn’thappeninTexas.Idon’tcareifyou’reabackinstitute,stemcelllab,orifyou’reCellTexorifyou’reMDAndersondoingcancerresearch,whichdoesalotofstemcellresearch,orScottandWhite,whichhasawholebuildingfornothingbutstemcellresearch.Wewanttomakesurethattheefficacyhassomelinethereinsomewhere,andwegofromtheresowedon’tgetintoaMexicoproblem.
MODERATOR:
Andwhat’syourconfidencethatthatisn’thappeningtoalargeextendrightnow?Doweknowthat?
HARDCASTLE:
No,I’mveryconfidentthatit’snothappening.EverylabthatIknowof,andeverydoctorthat’susedthemthatIknowofinTexas,andIdon’tnearlyknowallofthem,butthey’reconcernedwiththesameefficacythatIam.Iknowdoctorsthatareusingthisextensivelyinspineandnecksurgeriesandgoingtoforeigncountriestogettheirstemcellsbecausetheyhaveefficacylawsonhowtheyproducethestemcellsorwhatkindstheyuse.Bythesametoken,Iknowalotofpeoplethatwentoutofthecountrytohaveatreatment,anddidn’tknowwhethertheyweregettingumbilicalcordstemcellsortheirownstemcells–theydidn’tknowwhattheyweregetting.Buttheywerethatdesperateforsomekindoftreatment.
MODERATOR:
Andbecausethisis,youknow,asyouhavementionedbefore,pioneering,we’reinadifferentsortof,anewplace,withalotofthistechnologyandalotofwhat’sbeingdone.WhatdoesCellTexdo?Whatdoestheindustrydoasawholetotrytopoliceitselfalittlebitonsomeofthisstuff,tomakesurethatifpeoplehavethoseconcerns,thatit’snothappening?

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