Regenerative medicine and cell-based therapies have been receiving a great deal of attention within the medical sciences worldwide. Due to the constant increase in reported benefits associated with such therapies, it would only be a matter of time before South Africa also starts harnessing these exceptional properties of self-healing and self-renewal. Dr. Walter Bell, medical practitioner situated in Parys, Free State, soon recognized the need for such therapies within a clinical setting.
Dr. Bell put together a team of medical experts and allied with the world-renowned stem cell research institution Bioheart Inc. which is a US based Biotechnology Company focused on the discovery and development of cell therapies for the treatment of degenerative diseases. Bioheart’s Chief Scientific Officer, Kristin Comella, who is rated as the 24th most Influential Stem Cell Researcher globally, provided staff with the necessary training, aligned with Bioheart’s FDA approved protocols and in September 2014 the South African Stem Cell Institute (SASCI) officially opened its doors in hopes of redefining the field of regenerative medicine within South Africa. This state of the art medical facility soon began treating patients with different conditions which, according to case specific indications, were deemed suitable for stem cell therapies.
Apart from offering cellular therapy SASCI also provides patients the opportunity to cryopreserve their stem cells indefinitely for future use. In order to achieve maximum cell viability the conditions in which these cells are stored should be optimal. Constant, sub-minimum temperatures are essential when cryopreserving cells and in order to achieve such conditions it was important that proper equipment be obtained. Upon implementation of the cell culture facilities, SASCI obtained the new Thermo Scientific Forma Cryoplus LN2 Freezer for the long term storage of the cells from Thermo’s local agents Labotec. This specific model is able to hold more than 6000 cryovials, maintained at temperatures below -150oC. The Forma Cryoplus LN2 Freezer was chosen as it was surprisingly compact and versatile providing a large storage capacity without concerns of using too much laboratory floor space. It also allows easy access to the frozen samples minimizing the hazards often associated with LN2 handling.
Shortly after the opening of SASCI in September, Bioheart Inc. issued a press release stating that “The facilities in South Africa are top notch and mirror FDA facilities that we have in the U.S.” According to SASCI, obtaining laboratory equipment of irrefutable quality was of utmost importance in order to provide their affiliated colleagues as well as patients a peace of mind, knowing that their samples are well maintained. For more information the SASCI, their contact details are 5 Re-unie Street, Parys, Free State. Tel 056 817 6043 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.