Working on Several Fronts to Boost Awareness of Stem CellsWed, 09/05/2018 - 11:48
Q: How would you describe the penetration of regenerative medicine in Mexico?
A: The promise for regenerative medicine is mesenchymal cells. My company introduced mesenchymal cells to Mexico for the first time 10 years ago. This technology is new to Mexico City, but it has been developed for some years in the north of the country where BioCenter has clinics in Monterrey and Tijuana. Medical tourism has promoted this technology in the north for eight years, catering to the arrival of foreigners.
Q: How does BioCenter guarantee the effective and safe collection of mesenchymal cells?
A: BioCenter retrieves stem cells from teeth, fat and bone marrow. Fat is the most common procedure for adults, who undergo a mini-liposuction to isolate and reproduce the stem cells for application. BioCenter has participated in the application of mesenchymal cells to treat facial paralysis, sports injuries and inflammatory diseases like myomatosis. In Mexico City, we have applied our technology for less than a year but in our affiliated clinics we have between four and five years of development. Also, BioCenter in Mexico City has a new division related to applications for aesthetic medicine and treatment in areas such as alopecia and facial rejuvenation.
Q: How is BioCenter collaborating to support local and international research efforts in stem cell therapy?
A: All possible applications for the use of stem cells must undergo a research process. BioCenter collaborates with several clinics nationwide to carry out multicenter clinical protocols with the goal of developing controlled therapeutic techniques. Our clinical protocols are subject to COFEPRIS’ ability to continue providing access to more than 30 therapeutic applications. BioCenter works according to several objectives; it collaborates both in clinical research and on the patient’s education to promote awareness of what a mesenchymal stem cell is. In addition, I am on the board of directors of the Mexican Council of Regenerative Medicine and Cell Therapy that represents clinics that are authorized by COFEPRIS to operate in the country and develops a commercial, research and academic agenda around the subject.
Q: Which are the main challenges to the widespread implementation of this technology in Mexico?
A: The main issues in Mexico are cost and the lack of education about stem cells. Our country does not have a deep knowledge about these cells and this creates a problem when it comes to differentiating the serious treatments from the so-called miracle products advertised on TV. One of BioCenter’s goals is to inform the patient and the population about mesenchymal cells before receiving any type of therapy. In terms of cost, well-regulated stem cells have a high cost because the conditions for their cultivation require a high level of biosecurity that increases their value. But, these conditions are key to ensuring that they are purified, expanded and isolated. There are approximately 30 clinics nationwide with a health license from COFEPRIS to apply stem cells.
Q: What alliances is BioCenter generating to increase its client base and the penetration of this technology?
A: Part of the joint agenda between BioCenter and the Mexican Council of Regenerative Medicine and Cell Therapy is to develop and strengthen the clinical research of stem cells in Mexico. BioCenter wants to promote clinical research with patients because it is the area with the greatest potential in the country due to medical tourism and the flow of patients that Mexico receives from the US. Also, we are trying to work together with the Council and research clinics to integrate knowledge and create greater value for the development of regenerative medicine. The Council and BioCenter participate in international symposia and conferences to find the best practices and knowledge that can benefit Mexico. Regenerative medicine is an industry driven by patients, which means that there is a great need on the part of patients to access it.