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The opening of the Mena Stem Cells Forum

UAE to develop Middle East’s first Stem Cells Bank

DUBAI, March 20, 2022

The UAE is in the process of developing the region’s first Stem Cells Bank that will see the country become a stem cells tourism hub, officials have announced.
 
The announcement came at the first Mena Stem Cells Forum from March 18 to 19, which focused on a $467 billion global industry, and brought all stakeholders to push for increased funding and research that could bring significant changes in people’s life in the Middle East and North Africa.
 
Dr Rehab Al Blooshi, Acting Medical Director of Dubai Cord Blood and Research Centre, part of the Dubai Health Authority, said: “We already have a Stem Cells Bank within Dubai Cord Blood and Research Centre and we are discussing with other health authorities to develop a nation-wide Stem Cells Bank to strengthen this new scientific and medical innovation sector. It is in the process.”
 
Dubai Cord Blood and Research Centre offers collection and preservation of umbilical cord from new-born babies and preserve them for 30 years with a fee of around AED9,000 ($2,450). This represents the first Stem Cells Bank in the UAE.
 
Officials also called for strong regulatory guidelines to regulate stem cells research, therapy and practice as it sometimes falls into the grey area of nature, ethics, culture and religion.
 
Dr Shahrukh Hashmi, Chairman, Seha Oncology Council; Chairman, Department Oncology/ Hematology, Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City, UAE, said: “The stem cells industry needs strong regulation globally. We need strict guidelines for the industry to evolve ethically.”
 
Dr Al Blooshi said a set of regulatory guidelines for the stem cells sector has been issued in the UAE a year ago to regulate the sector which is evolving through clinical trials.
 
“It is important to have a national registry of stem cells so that we could offer better research and treatment, as the industry evolves. The UAE is well ahead of others when it comes to regulation and ethical practice as we have seen the first regulatory guideline for stem cell research and therapy being issues in the UAE last year. 
 
“We now need a regulatory regime for the entire Middle East and North Africa that will help develop a coordinated approach to the stem cell research and therapy.”
 
Dr Asawari Bapat, Mena Stem Cells Forum Conference Chairman and International Ambassador of AABB, Consultant to Info Health FZE, Dubai, said: “The UAE is going to be the centre for future stem cell research and therapy as well as stem cells tourism, the way the country is developing its stem cell research capability.”
 
Dr Timothy Schroeder, Chairman, CEO, and Founder of CTI Clinical Trial & Consulting Services, said: “We have to tell the rest of the world why stem cells researchers should come to UAE and treat patients, rather than sending the patients to the Western countries for treatment. 
 
“We are now seeing the development of human organs in the US – that technology and innovation could be brought to the UAE. The UAE is going to be the centre of future stem cells research and this is how the UAE could also become a centre for stem cells tourism industry.”
 
Countries from Middle East and North Africa region are going to strengthen stem cells research in the coming years in order to reinforce research and benefit from stem cells therapies, experts said at the first two-day Mena Stem Cells Forum that kicked off at the Movenpick Grand, Al Bustan Hotel Dubai.
 
Organised by Great Minds Events Management (GM Events), the two-day conference and exhibition is participated by more than 250 delegates from more than 15 countries where more than 30 officials and experts gathered to discuss the latest scientific developments and innovations in the stem cell therapy and associated areas. The exhibition features more than 25 participants. 
 
The global stem cells market is expected to grow at an incredible compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 25.5% from 2018 to $467 billion by 2024, according to a research by Market Watch.
 
This significant event takes place at a time when the world struggled to fight the different variants of Covid-19 viruses that disrupted global growth. Many experts look at stem cells research as a possible solution to tackle such pandemics in future.
 
“The stem cells therapy market includes large number of players that are involved in development of stem cell therapies of the treatment of various diseases,” Market Watch said in its report.
 
“The growth of the market is attributed to the rising number of clinical trials and the growing adoption of stem cells therapies globally. In the context of Covid-19, government organisations in various countries, research institutes, and many biotech and pharmaceutical firms are focusing on effective and rapid technologies for the fast diagnosis of Covid-19.
 
“According to a 2020 research article published in the scientific journal Aging and Disease (2020), mesenchymal stem cells are a safe and effective approach to the treatment of Covid-19. At least 10 projects have been registered in the official international registry for clinical trials, implicating the use of mesenchymal stem cells to patients with coronavirus pneumonia. However, it is still at an initial stage of study in relation to the market studied.”
 
Mena Stem Cells Forum is supported by Dubai Health Authority, Zewail City, American Board of Regenerative Medicine, American Academy of Regenerative Medicine and Association for the advancement of Blood & Biotherapies (AABB). The event has attracted more than 10 specialised media partners.
 
Dr Hatim Al Abbas – Acting Director, Dubai Cord Blood and Research Centre, UAE, said: “Working in the field of stem cells therapy makes you see the light shine again in those innocent eyes that have been exhausted by disease and then you realise that stem cells are like a miracle. Our meeting here on the land of Dubai, the land of achieving miracles, makes us work to make stem cell therapy of all kinds available to everyone.”
 
The Mena Stem Cells Forum is the first event of its kind in the Middle East and North Africa (Mena) to focus on this sector. This exclusive meeting will discuss key trends and topics, such as stem cell banking, scientific research, applications, public awareness, and regulations. 
 
The event is the region’s biggest platform where local, regional, and international experts, key opinion leaders, researchers, physicians and other experts from academia and industry share their experiences and knowledge on the latest advancements, crucial topics and the challenges in the stem cells research and therapy.
 
Leila Masinaei, Managing Partner, Great Mind Events Management, said: “Stem cells research is an important development that has gained greater significance in recent times, and especially after the Covid-19 pandemic which many experts feel could be tackled through stem cell research and innovation. 
 
“We have decided to launch the Mena Stem Cells Forum to bring all the stakeholders to focus on this important scientific development that can play a crucial role in better health and longevity. Greater research in bio-technology and stem cells could produce much better results and enhance average life expectancy worldwide.
 
“We are pleased to see the initial response from the health and scientific community who have gathered at the Mena Stem Cells Forum. This will go a long way in stem cells research in the Gulf and the Middle East.”
 
Stem cell therapy has become a significant and innovative scientific development giving hope to both health professionals and patients worldwide. The development of treatment methods has achieved great results globally especially in the Middle East and North Africa, where stem cell therapy and regenerative medicine are fast-moving and expansive, and if progress continues at its current pace, the region could become one of the world’s centers for biomedical research. In fact, the size of the Middle East and Africa stem cells market is estimated to reach $2.85 billion by the end of 2026, according to Market Data Forecast.
 
Mena Stem Cells Forum addresses all the advances and the pressing challenges in the stem cells market through opening speeches, scientific presentations, panel discussions and more. -- TradeArabia News Service
 



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