By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
THE first stem cell facility in the Bahamas is expected to open this summer and the operators have announced the addition of Dr Todd Malan to their executive medical team in Grand Bahama.
Okyanos Heart Institute has announced the appointment of Dr Malan as their Chief Cell Therapy Officer and General Surgeon.
The stem cell clinic is located in the First Commercial Centre, where construction is in the final stages.
In February, leading cardiac expert Dr Howard Walpole, chief medical officer at Okyanos, told a STEMSO Conference that the stem cell therapy clinic in Freeport will be ready in early summer to administer adult stem cell treatment to “no option” patients suffering from severe symptoms of coronary heart disease.
In a statement yesterday, the clinic said that Dr Malan will perform and oversee the liposuction step of Okyanos treatment, removing a small amount of fat from patients from which their own stem cells are isolated.
“Cardiac cell therapy is intended for no-option heart patients who have exhausted the currently available standards of care for their condition, of which there are about two million in the United States alone,” it stated.
Dr Malan, the founder of the Innovative Cosmetic Surgery Centre in Scottsdale, Arizona, specialises in advanced liposuction and fat transfer procedures.
He is considered a pioneer in adipose-derived stem cell research and is a fellow of the American Academy of Cosmetic Surgery. He became the first physician in the United States to utilise adult stem cells from fat tissue for soft tissue reconstruction.
Dr Malan has co-authored two medical textbooks on fat-derived stem cell therapies and has served as principal investigator on two Institutional Review Board (IRB) approved adult stem cell trials.
“As an active member of the adipose stem cell research community, Dr Malan is very familiar with the therapeutic benefits of adult stem cells for cardiac, as demonstrated in clinical trials,” said Dr Walpole. “He lends his experience and integrated knowledge of both innovative cosmetic surgery and stem cell therapy to our medical leadership team,” he said.
“It is truly gratifying to see the gathering of like-minded researchers, clinicians and administrators who see the remarkable value of developing evidence-based protocols for effective stem cell therapies,” said Dr Malan.
“This project is a culmination of years of experience between industry leaders who are dedicated to making Okyanos a premier cell therapy centre in the world. The work we do today will define the future of medicine for years to come.”
According to the statement, Okyanos cardiac cell therapy is the first stem cell-based procedure for heart failure available to patients outside clinical trials, wherein the patient’s own adipose-derived stem cells are infused directly into the damaged part of the heart via catheter.
Okyanos will begin treating advanced heart disease patients in Freeport in the summer. The statement indicated that Okyanos Heart Institute’s mission is to bring a new standard of care and a better quality of life to patients with coronary artery disease using cardiac stem cell therapy.
Okyanos adheres to US surgical centre standards and is led by founder and CEO Matt Feshbach, as well as Chief Medical Officer Howard T Walpole Jr.