To follow on from a recent post on medical tourism for stem cell therapies, I though I'd note the pace of development in Asia. The medical industry in countries like India, Malaysia, Vietnam, and so forth is in many ways more energetic than in the West. It is certainly less burdened by regulation, and that makes all the difference in the long run. For so long as it costs less to achieve the same goals, the level of growth will be greater, and that difference will compound year after year. Heavy regulation and socialist command and control systems such as those that shackle medicine in the US will always ensure that a region becomes backwards and poor in the fullness of time. It will be overtaken by competing regions, and the bulk of new investment will go elsewhere.
We can see aspects of this process happening now in the field of stem cell research. The real action in terms of foundational growth and application of new science is taking place outside America and Western Europe. Absent large changes in the tenor and breadth of medical regulation in the US, the future of your health will be found in Asia, because that will be where the safe, reliable, low cost therapies exist.
A couple of articles I noticed recently are illustrative of the infrastructural development taking place in that region of the world:
The Manipal Institute of Regenerative Medicine (MIRM), a new initiative of Manipal University, has been created to transform stem cell science into reality by bringing together a group of outstanding scientists and providing them with an exceptional research environment. India is identified as one of the forerunners in stem cell research and MIRM is the first academic Institute in India to impart focused training in stem cell biology.
International Stemcell Services Limited (ISSL) which is engaged in stem cell clinical application and banking services is planning an investment to the tune of Rs 50 crore. The funds will be utilized to establish dedicated stem cell speciality hospitals in major cities and open up Departments of Regenerative Medicine in existing hospitals. The company would chip in a portion of the funds from its internal accruals and the remaining will be raised through financial institutions. Presently, ISSL has a opened a facility at the St Theresa’s Hospital, Bangalore which is equipped with a Philips endura C-arm for transplantation of stem cells. Its Mumbai centre is a class 10,000 cGMP facility, which caters to the western parts of the country.
The Pahang government [in Malaysia] will proceed with plans to set up a stem cell research hub despite questions being raised on the effectiveness of stem cell treatment, Mentri Besar Datuk Seri Adnan Yaakob said. Adnan said the state government was aware of questions being raised both here and abroad over the authenticity of claims that stem cells could be used to cure a number of ailments. He said some quarters felt that more research should be carried out to determine if the treatment actually worked but he noted that many individuals claimed that their condition had improved following such treatment.
This sort of thing will continue, and the pace will pick up.