BAHAMAS: Dr. Sands Provides Update on Stem Cell Research

by Jones Bahamas
A subject that caused quite the controversy, yet Minister of Health Dr. Duane Sands said when it comes to stem cell research here in the country nothing much has changed, but if need be, the right avenues will have to be followed.
In an interview with The Bahama Journal yesterday, Dr. Sands said things are still in order as far as he is concerned.
“The Okyanos facility was sold to another parent company. They have continued to do their work and they have been in conformity with the requirement of the stem cell body which has had oversight responsibility,” he said.
“The question now is whether or not the new parent copay is interested in introducing in any new clinical services.”
If that company wishes to change anything, he said, it would have to get the correct approvals from the Ethics Oversight Committee.
“It depends on the nature and safety of what it is that they are proposing to do. They may simply continue with the series they already have approval for, but I expect that they would want to expand their scope,” Dr. Sands said.
“The purpose of the Ethics Oversight Committee is to ensure safety for the patients and the public and also for the reputation of The Bahamas.”
Dr. Sands said he served on the committee that formulated the rules of stem cell services in The Bahamas.
He further added that his views have also been incorporated in the current guidelines which took place sometime back in 2013.
In August of last year, Med Cell Bahamas Ltd. was given approval by The Bahamas National Stem Cell Ethics Committee to conduct stem cell research and operate the country’s first ever stem cell research lab.
An initial $4 million was invested for the attainment of laboratory and storage equipment as well as the recruitment of some seven to 10 employees.(The Bahama Journal)

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