By DENISE MAYCOCK
Tribune Freeport Reporter
THE newest technology and research in regenerative medicine will be presented by the world’s top physicians and research scientists in the field at a leading conference in Grand Bahama next month.
The 2016 Regenerative Medicine Conferenceconference is being hosted from June 23 to 25 by the Grand Bahama Port Authority Ltd (GBPA), in partnership with Regenera Global, a multi-national company involved in research development and marketing of new biological and pharmaceutical projects in the specialist field.
More than 200 medical executives from some 60 countries will be travelling to Freeport.
Ian Rolle, president of the GBPA, believes that the conference is an excellent opportunity for Grand Bahama to be recognised “as a progressive world hub ready for investment in regenerative medicine and technology, and niche specialty procedures”.
On Monday Mr Rolle noted that Grand Bahama is already home to Okyanos, the first stem cell medical facility in the Bahamas.
“We know through research of this very lucrative industry more than one third of the population requiring treatment or care for non-invasive specialty treatment presently travel abroad, some as far as the Asian Pacific coast, and we rather have them travel to our shore, and they probably would if we had the facilities,” he said at a media conference at the GBPA.
Mr Rolle is believes that hosting such a conference in Freeport will attract potential facilities to the island.
Minister for Grand Bahama Dr Michael Darville noted that officials work closely with the Port Authority and said there are a few applications on the drawing board for regenerative medicine and stem cell therapies on the island.
“We have on the drawing board a few potential applications. Of course, there is a very (stringent) process or programme to license these facilities, and even though we want to move very quickly we have an Ethics Committee and a Scientific Committee … because our game plan is the prevent contamination of our jurisdiction for those who are trying to get into stem cell therapy for economic gain and the science is not robust or advance enough to show clinical outcome representing quality and the latest in terms of scientific knowledge.”
Dr Darville endorses the conference. “This will bring many reputable scientists to the island to discuss the latest therapies in regenerative medicine, and the application to clinical practice,” he said.
“In the sharing of information there is also the potential to attract some new potential clients to practice stem cell therapy and research on the island of Grand Bahamas. I am convinced … it will bring forth much fruit to the island.”
Kathy Hebert, CEO of Regenera Global, said the conference speakers are top in their field, including the director of the Mayo Clinic’s Regenerative Medicine Division, and the director of research from Texas Heart Institute.
“We are working to bring top physicians and research scientists from all over the world here to Freeport so people can access to these thought leaders, and we like to bring together technologies that will to be used with patients today,” she said.
Ms Hebert said that persons can register online at Regenera Global with a special rate available for Bahamians using the promotional code “Bahama” when registering.
Betty Bethel, director at the Ministry of Tourism in Grand Bahama, said that the ministry has identified religious, sports, and medical tourism as niche areas that brings group travel to the island.
“Grand Bahama has always been seen as a destination that matches well with medical tourism because we do have a history of non-traditional treatments being offered to international guests,” she said.