The Federal Government through the National Biotechnology Development Agency (NABDA), RAHAB RVD Global Industries and Mesencell Biotech at the weekend in Abuja, sealed the Memorandum of Agreement (MoU) on Stem Cell medicine deployment even as the treatment is said to be a potential anti-aging and regenerative therapies.
Speaking at the conclusion of the deal at the Headquarters of NABDA in Abuja, the Director General of agency, Prof. Abdullahi Mustapha, acknowledged that the agreement between the agency and the firms is exciting primarily because biotechnology is the modern technology that every country is trying to drive development.
We are also partnering with them on the technology that involves generation of clean water using biotechnology, adding that bio-organic fertilizer production is also part of the deal.
According to Mustapha, these areas are key sectors expected to drive Nigeria’s national development even as he reinforces that NABDA is determined to deploy all clean technologies to reposition Nigeria as a self-sustaining nation, where we can no longer depend on other countries to survive.
By signing this MoA, Mustapha reiterated that the agency is ready to swing into action immediately, explaining that the CEO of Mesencell Biotech, Dr. Stevens James Kellener, an expert on stem cells, is in Nigeria to conclude the legal framework.
The NABDA boss said: “We are ready to deploy the therapy at the conclusion of the agreement. Now, instead of Nigerians traveling abroad for stem cell regenerative therapy or cartilage treatment or some other diseases, now there is that technology that we can deploy here to assist Nigerians.
While allaying fears of skills and manpower deficit, Mustapha, said: “The skills will be learnt by our staff as stated in the MoA, putting them on the track and that means that the technology will be in NABDA. Our staff will also be trained within and outside the country.
On sustainability, he assured that the technology will be sustained here in Nigeria as NABDA staff will be trained on management, handling and re-invention of the technology.
He said: “We are going to upgrade our laboratory. We have started that with the basic equipment and the laboratory now is going to be world standard of carrying out research on stem cell regenerative therapy and so this is another milestone that we have reached and so NABDA will be one centre that you can point at to see that whatever problem that we can solve in the country using stem cell regenerative therapy in NABDA we will research on it and then deploy it to the country.
“Stem cell application and deployment will also help reverse Nigeria’s medical tourism as several billions of dollars will be saved as according to him: ‘A lot of Nigerians do travel abroad for stem cell treatment because we don’t have the technology in the country, but with this MoA and commencement of deployment the country will save a lot of foreign exchange.”
Other components of the deal embedded in the MoA, according to the DG include: Oil tank farm cleaning, paraffin recovery and remediation of oil contaminated soil, portable water and waste water management and organic biofertilizers and soil biodegradation.
Fielding questions from journalists at the sideline of the ceremony, Dr. Kellener, while corroborating Mustapha’s view, said the collaboration will launch Nigeria into a new era of exciting medical breakthroughs, adding: ‘We are bringing in new ideas and technologies on regenerative medicine. Regenerative medicine also means that you stay longer and healthier with high possibility for anti-aging.
Kellener said: “The main focus is on staying healthy for longer. That is the technology that we are bringing. We have seen quite a lot of increasing cancer development which means that we are actively researching and also doing cancer preventive treatment like vaccines for cancer.