Aggie grad happy to put off retiring to advance stem cell science

David Eller could have retired a long time ago.

At the age of 76, he could spend his days on permanent vacation fly-fishing in Idaho, golfing in San Antonio or skiing on the Italian-Austrian border like he has done to get away from work for many years.

He isn't working because he is desperate for money and accolades. He's had those for many years.

During the '80s, Eller oversaw revolutionary cattle cloning practices as CEO of Granada BioSciences, a company he founded. He served as chairman of the Texas A&M System Board of Regents from 1983 to 1989. The Oceanography & Meteorology Building on A&M's campus was named in his honor in 1988.In 2000, he was namedexecutive vice president and president of DuPont's European operations.He is president of Eller Holding Company, a privately-held family investment company.

Instead of settling down after a life of amassing great wealth and personal achievement, he co-founded Houston-based Celltex Therapeutics Corporation in 2011 and put himself at the forefront of the contentious issue of autologous stem cell therapy in the name of fighting for ill people to harness the healing properties of their own bodies.

These days it is Celltex that drives Eller's passion, enabling him to combine his humanitarian and entrepreneurial impulses and perhaps one day leave a lasting mark on health care. It is the culmination of the journey he began on the A&M campus in the late 1950s.

"When I started this company I really didn't need another job," Eller said. "I certainly didn't need one with so many rules and regulations we had to adhere to that gives us a lot of headaches. All in all, the biggest reward out of it is seeing people improve their quality of life."

Since 2011, the company has helped treat approximately 600 patients between the ages of 6 and 96 by injecting stem cells taken from their own bodies into a troubled area with no complications, according to Eller. He believes Celltex's reach could expand tenfold if the entire operation could be conducted out of the United States, where the practice was banned in 2012, but that could take years of fighting a two-front war.

The daily war is educating as many doctors and potential patients as possible on the benefits of being treated with a one's own stem cells. The second, long-term war is maneuvering through the FDA's web of red tape that currently bans the practice from being performed on U.S. soil.

Eller spent four years in the Texas A&M Corps of Cadets until his 1959 graduation, which he says plays a major role in his character.

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Aggie grad happy to put off retiring to advance stem cell science

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