Stem-cell research facility planned

American cardiologist and researcher Dr. Yerem Yeghiazarians is currently on a visit to the Kingdom to gauge interest in setting up a stem-cell research facility here.

Leading Saudi businessmen Hamad and Khalid Al-Zamil are interested in advancing the research initiative and invited Dr. Yeghiazarians to meet business leaders, arranged lectures and toured him around various hospitals to garner support for his pioneering project.

Dr. Yeghiazarians believes stem cell treatment may be the only hope for thousands of people worldwide who suffer from heart problems.

“It would be fantastic if we could set up a research program here. I am trying to monitor the interest among people here. I need to know what facilities are currently available and find out how we can introduce larger facilities to the region to advance the research collaboratively,” he told Arab News in an interview.

“My mission is to educate people here about stem cell research, heart diseases, heart failure and the potential treatment we can offer our patients,” said Dr. Yeghiazarians.

In the US alone, he pointed out that there are about 1.5 million heart attacks every year, and one in five people are going to die from heart disease. There are over three million people in the US with some degree of congestive heart failure now.

“In the Middle East, I dont know the numbers, but they must be equally staggering,” he said.

“We all have to be careful about our diet. We all have to be careful about the lifestyle choices we make. We should not smoke; we should exercise and constantly watch our weight.”

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Stem-cell research facility planned