The Chairman and CEO of NeoStem, Robin Smith, M.D., MBA, has been invited to present a talk on the growing phenomenon known as “medical tourism”, and its implications, at the upcoming World Stem Cell Summit to be held in Madison, Wisconsin from September 21st through the 23rd.
In 2007, approximately 750,000 Americans traveled abroad in search of medical care, and this number is projected to reach 6 million by 2010. Similarly, of all international travelers who leave their home country to find medical care elsewhere, approximately 40% of those people are non-Americans who travel to the United States for medical treatment, according to a McKinsey report that was issued in May of 2008. Medical companies and clinics that are strategically located within major destination cities within the U.S. are therefore likely to profit from this growing global trend toward “medical tourism” – especially in the field of stem cells.
According to Dr. Smith, “We have already begun to see international interest as evidenced by a collection performed at a NeoStem center in New York last week on an individual who lives in Dubai. NeoStem believes that individuals in increasing numbers will seek safe and effective stem cell therapies abroad that are not yet approved in the United States and many important clinical advances will be in hospitals and clinics outside the United States. We believe that we could gain value from this by including medical tourism in the company’s future business strategy.”
As the first company to offer autologous adult stem cell collection and banking services to the general adult population, NeoStem works exclusively with adult stem cells, not embryonic stem cells. NeoStem collects adult stem cells from peripheral blood, thereby avoiding bone marrow aspiration collection techniques which must usually be performed under general anesthesia. NeoStem has also entered into a number of R&D projects through the acquisition of licensed technology that identifies and isolates VSELs (very small embryonic-like stem cells).
Since adult stem cells are already being used in clinics around the world for the treatment of a wide variety of diseases and injuries, and since a number of proprietary adult stem cell products are already in clinical trials in the U.S., it would seem to be only a matter of time before FDA approval is attained and such adult stem cell therapies are legally and widely available within the United States. When that happens, the U.S. could become the adult stem cell “Mecca” of the world.