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Vietnamese doctor turns "medical waste" into skin to cure wounds

By Hoang Hoang    June 29, 2016 | 07:00 am PT
Vietnamese doctor turns "medical waste" into skin to cure wounds
Vietnamese-Singaporean Dr. Phan Toan Thang discovered the method of using stem cells from the umbilical cord to cure burns, injuries and many others diseases.

Thang is now one of the owners of a $700 million company - Cellresearch Corp - regarded as the founding father of the umbilical cord stem cell research program, according to Singapore’s The Straits Times.

The use of umbilical cord stem cells to cure disease will be tested on humans next year in Denver under the surveillance of the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA). This new technology may be able to heal scars and make skin transplants cheaper.

In 2002, in the same year that Cellresearch Corp was founded, Dr. Phan attended the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at Stanford University to study the method of using stem cells from the placenta to repair livers.

After his two years there, he returned to Singapore to conduct stem cell extraction experiments with both the placenta and umbilical cord. After his failure to extract stem cells from the placenta, he came up with the idea of using the umbilical cord, which used to be considered medical waste. His idea turned out to be a huge success because it can provide six billion stem cells that can be developed into skin and turned into bone and other body parts. His discovery has the potential to cure wounds, burns and other diseases.

Dr. Phan graduated from the Military Medical University in 1991 and then went to Oxford University in 1995 under a scholarship program. He then worked at Singapore General Hospital in 1997 in the burns unit, specialized in healing wounds and creating skin cells, before attending Stanford University. In the hospital, he met his colleague, Dr. Ivor Lim, who formed Cellresearch Corp with him in 2002.

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