On this blog, I have in the past mentioned a few times how stem cell and other modern oftentimes untested medical procedures can take place rapidly in developing countries with lax to nonexistent (or easily pliable) regulations. Recently, we saw an example of this when Liz Parrish decided to travel to Colombia for her gene therapy treatment.
While all of us keep talking about how great Japan’s new regulations will be for the advancement of regenerative medicine and stem cell treatments, we have forgotten to keep an eye on Central and South America (the Caribbean region in particular) where things will likely move even faster.
The Bahamas and Peter Nygard
In recent years, the Bahamas has become a significant area of interest when it comes to stem cell treatments. I found the below somewhat cheesy Peter Nygard video from a few years ago interesting when I first saw it. I finally have a reason to include it (keep reading after the video to know why):
The Bahamas, Okyanos and Favorable new Stem Cell Treatment Regulations
Okyanos Cell Therapy in the Bahamas is probably more reliable than Peter Nygard’s company. Besides having a regularly updated blog, in 2015 Okyanos became the first company in the Bahamas to receive regulatory approval from the National Stem Cell Ethics Committee (NSEC) to provide adult stem cell therapy. More here. Also see this latest piece on stem cell treatments in the Bahamas.
The Bahamas as a Secretive Tax Haven
This week’s biggest news story regarding “The Panama Papers” has also found a few cases of people with hidden funds in the Bahamas. In fact Investopedia’s list of top 10 Caribbean tax havens ranks the Bahamas as number 3. If you have the money, it seems like anything is possible in the Bahamas.
Guns for Hire in the Bahamas
So why have I devoted space to all of the above, part of which reads like a gossip magazine column? Well if you are a shady character or operate a shady company or deal with an untested and unproven technology that has no rigorous scientific backing, there is almost no place on earth where you would rather be than in the sunny Bahamas.
Lo and Behold
Lo and behold, today out of the blue came one of the most brazen announcements ever in the hair loss world (brazen because of the below quotes in blue). UK based Thorn Medical plc announced the launch of a joint venture company called “Tricogeneca Limited”, with IK Clinics (also of the UK). The new venture will provide stem cell treatments for baldness…. in the Bahamas of course. The founder and director of IK Clinics is someone named Dr. Irum Khan. On Thorn’s website, they discuss the Bahamas stem treatment approval for Thorn from March this year. Edit: Company site is now gone.
In the above linked press release, Thorn Medical’s accomplished CEO, the balding Jack Kaye, states: “We are delighted to establish this joint venture with Dr Khan. She has had great success in using stem cells for hair regrowth and we are keen to further promote this amazing breakthrough to make it available internationally, whilst carrying out further on-going development.”
In that same press release, Dr. Khan states: “Our initial focus has been on treating men, where we’ve had a 100% success rate and we’re now refining our techniques for curing alopecia in women, which, although still at an early stage, has so far shown similar success.”
Dr. Mahmood Bashir, who heads up Thorn Medical’s stem cell development and treatment efforts, said: “Although current techniques are still in their infancy, with only 10% of the new hair follicles cultured remaining alive, we can culture sufficient
quantities in the lab to provide a complete cure for male pattern baldness.”
And for the icing on the cake, I defer back to Jack Kaye: “With our recent stem cell licence in the Bahamas and this new venture, male pattern baldness will soon be a thing of the past!”
There you have it! After all these decades of numerous intelligent scientists working on a cure for hair loss, we are finally home sweet home. Four years earlier than I expected.
Dr. Irum Khan
Since Mr. Kaye stated that Dr. Irum Khan has had great success in using stem cells for hair regrowth, I went to her website. Not a single mention of stem cells anywhere whatsoever on her site. She offers scalp micro-pigmentation (SMP) treatments, hair transplants and medications, but no cell based treatments. Her website has a menu titled as “Blog 2”, and clicking on that takes you a to a haphazardly created page on thread facelifts. Clearly, her website would not be out of place in the Bahamas.
On a positive side, Dr. Khan does seem like a nice person.
Back to Thorn Medical
It seems like Thorn Medical is very soon going to raise capital via a £350 million IPO. According to another recent article, Mr. Kaye states that he expects the company’s value to double to £700 million by the end of the year. So he thinks that his company’s partner has forever cured hair loss per his earlier quote, and he values the benefit of such a cure at around £350 million max over the course of this year? My guess would be that it should be more like $35 billion, but I am no financial expert.
Back to the Bahamas
Joking and sarcasm aside, I guess it is great to have rogue nations such as the Bahamas where anyone can get away with anything when it comes to medical procedures (not so great for the initial scapegoat patients). If you have the funds and the willpower, I suspect that you can single handedly influence national regulations in countries throughout the Caribbean.