Stem cell center to open next month

BSALIM, Lebanon: In April, a German medical team reported that it successfully treated a 2-year-old boy with cerebral palsy using intravenous stem cells from his umbilical cord more than four years after he emerged from cardiac arrest paralyzed and in a coma. Also this spring, doctors in Illinois performed a windpipe transplant on a 2-year-old girl using lungs grown from her own stem cells; scientists used stem cells to regenerate teeth and damaged liver tissue in mice; and researchers in Ireland completed a preclinical trial using stem cells to heal diabetic foot ulcers, which leads to amputation in nearly half of middle-aged patients.

Since the late 1990s, doctors at AUH, the Makassed Medical Center, and other major health care facilities across the country have routinely used stem cells from the bone marrow of patients and donors to treat blood diseases such as leukemia.

They have also ventured into more experimental regenerative therapies for liver cirrhosis, cardiac infarctions, infertility, spinal cord injuries and even multiple sclerosis, with varying degrees of success.

Cosmetic surgeons in Lebanon regularly use adult stem cells from fatty tissue to augment breasts, buttocks and lips, stimulate hair growth, and remove stretch marks, burns and under-eye circles. Most hospitals also charge a fee to extract stem cells from the umbilical blood of newborns with the mothers consent.

But until the countrys first long-term cell bank, Transmedical For Life, opened in 2009, the samples had to be shipped to banks in Europe, which dramatically reduced the volume of viable cells. The facility also does not extract stem cells or perform transplantations on site, and only served Lebanese patients.

Although regenerative medicineis becoming increasingly routine in Lebanon, none of the stem cell procedures and services were conducted in a single facility, and the national contribution to scientific research on stem cells has lagged far behind that of the West and even the Gulf.

All this may change on Aug. 1 when the first comprehensive stem cell therapy center and bank, Reviva, opens at the Middle East Institute of Health in Bsalim, Metn.

According to Revivas scientific director, Dr. Norman Makdissi, Reviva will be the only medical facility in the Middle East equipped to collect, process, preserve and transplant stem cells from four different tissue sources in patients from Lebanon and abroad.

The 30 Lebanese investors, doctors and scientists behind the new $7 million clinic hope Reviva will become a leading international stem cell research institute and treatment facility, enhancing Lebanons status as a top medical tourism destination in the region.

When we talk about stem cells we are talking about cases where hope doesnt exist, Makdissi told the Daily Star. The number of stem cells is very limited in the organism so the future of the [field of regenerative] medicine will be about amplifying the number of stem cells to treat the patients with.

Go here to read the rest:
Stem cell center to open next month

Related Post