Stem cell medical tourism clinic to be built in Bahamas


A leading cardiologist is to build a stem cell lab in the Bahamas. Dr. Conville Brown will build the $2.5 million lab at his Bahamas Heart Center clinic.

The plan follows the first cardiac stem cell treatment on the island. In conjunction with the Orlando-based stem cell company Advanced Innovative Medicine, Dr. Brown successfully performed the treatment on a 62-year-old American man who was experiencing heart problems after suffering a heart attack in 1989.The man had advance cardiac disease with blockage of blood going to his heart. A team of 15 people took one year to prepare for the procedure. Dr Brown says, “For medical tourism, it presents a niche because it provides a service for people outside the country which they not get where they came from.”

The procedure is an expensive one. A lot of technology is involved in stem cell therapy. The generation of the development of the expansion of the stem cells is a procedure that generally attracts a price of $20,000 to $30,000 just for the cells. The total price is in the $40,000 to $50,000 range globally. The cost in the Bahamas was significantly reduced.

The Bahamas government is planning to establish guidelines for doctors wanting to practice stem cell research or treatments.

Dr. Brown explains why he is building the new facility that should be ready within 6 months, “We want to set up our own stem cell manufacturing facility. It is all about giving the patient the convenience of a one-stop shop. The patient could come to The Bahamas, have their blood drawn, their cells processed and administered all under one roof and then fly back home; all done at one place at one time with one price and one package.”

The technique, using the body's own cells, does not have regulatory approval in the USA.

Doctors Hospital is also planning to set up a stem cell lab by early 2013. It has launched an international patient programme at The Bahamas Medical Centre, which is part of Doctors Hospital Health System .The new centre has operating rooms, private patient rooms, an athletic centre and swimming pool facilities. Barry Rassin of Doctors Hospital explains, “ Medical tourism has taken off in parts of Central and South America. We see great potential for the Bahamas. We cannot compete on price with India, Thailand, Mexico or Costa Rica. But we can be 25% to 35% cheaper than average US prices. There are direct flights to here from major US cities.”



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