Stem Cell

Dr Luis-Francisco Acevedo-Hueso: Scotland could lead world in stem cell technology

Regenerative medicines could revolutionise treatments. Picture: Getty Images
Regenerative medicines could revolutionise treatments. Picture: Getty Images

At present, the biomedical industry (pharmaceuticals, biotechnology and bioengineering) is failing Scotland.

Technologies are slow, bulky and expensive because their availablity is controlled by large corporations such as Carl Zeiss, Leica and Olympus, which lease and sell them at very high prices to our NHS, academic researchers, the pharma and biomedical companies, making therapies and treatments very expensive and inaccessible to patients.

One example is Caroline Wyatt, the former BBC defence correspondent, who was deemed unsuitable for an NHS trial and had to pay £48,000 for a stem cell transplant in Mexico in January to treat multiple sclerosis (MS).

Ms Wyatt saw improvements within a week and results show that about 80 per cent of people who have had the treatment responded to some degree. More than half saw the progression of their MS halted. So why was she deemed unsuitable for NHS treatment? This is mainly due to budget; clinicians have to be very selective with patients who qualify. So if you don’t qualify and you cannot afford to…