By Robert A. Emmanuel
Officials at the Stem Cell Medical Center believe that Antigua and Barbuda could become the leading nation for stem cell export and research.
The center’s Chairman, Dr. Bruce Murphy made the disclosure during a press conference on Tuesday.
“There is certainly the potential that, because of the sophisticated nature of the scientific processes that we are using, Antigua and Barbuda could be the source of stem cells for a lot of different countries.”
Dr. Murphy noted that, for the time being, the facility will be importing stem cells from the United States.
“These stem cells are going to be derived from fetal cord blood, which is the part of the umbilical cord attached to the placenta that is thrown away; it is full of young, healthy… stem cells.
“It will be sourced in the US; there are multiple companies right now that … take a healthy [young] woman who is pregnant, test her to be sure that she is absolutely healthy and, at the time of an elective caesarean section, get the placenta and the cord blood.”
He noted that the imported stem cells will be incubated and stored on island once the clean room has been completed in July.
The chairman further explained that the facility will be working with pluripotent stem cells, which can develop into “bone, cartilage, muscle, an organ tissue—liver, kidney—and skin and nervous tissue.”
He added that the pluripotent stem cells are “looking for a signal from a place in the body that is generally inflamed and sending out inflammatory signals for them to go to and repair or call in other cells to make new tissue.”
He said that every person is made out of stem cells and “you depend on stem cells every day, your blood everyday has to depend on stem cells out of your bone marrow to make new red blood cells, new white blood cells, new platelets.”