Prof. Phan Toan Thang, a Vietnamese researcher who owns a patent on stem cell-based technology

by NDO07 February 2020 Last updated at 19:28 PM

Prof. Dr. Phan Toan Thang (middle) in a laboratory in Singapore
Prof. Dr. Phan Toan Thang (middle) in a laboratory in Singapore

VTV.vn - Prof. Dr. Phan Toan Thang is the first Vietnamese to own a patent for extracting stem cells from the umbilical cord lining membrane, which was granted by the USPTO and and is protected in 47 countries and territories around the world.

Graduated from the Military Medical University in 1991, Prof. Phan Toan Thang started his career at the National Burn Hospital until 1996 before working as a researcher in the burns unit in Singapore General Hospital in 1997. From 2002 to 2004, he went to the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine, at Stanford University in the US, during which he focused his researches on extracting stem cells from umbilical cord lining.

When he returned to Singapore in 2004, he conducted further experiments on the umbilical cord. The Vietnamese scientist failed several times to keep the tissue in the umbilical cord alive, as well as decontaminating it at the right level. During that time, he turned off his phone and almost spent all of his time in the lab.

His efforts were finally rewarded. He published his research results the same year and harvested overwhelming success.

Thang shared that he was motivated to find a new source of stem cells which is available and affordable for patients in a way which doesn’t go against medical ethics.

Although the umbilical cord used to be something considered medical waste, Thang discovered that it can provide billions of stem cells and his technology can multiply these stem cells many times.

Stem cells have been considered a revolution in modern medicine, ushering a new era of regenerative medicine. Studies have shown that the human body includes more than 200 different cell types, all derived from stem cells.

Prior to Prof. Thang’s findings, growing stem cells and finding new sources of stem cells were not easy and were very costly. Solutions to separate stem cells from the placenta not only face ethnic issue but also could generate limited amount of stem cells.

Extracting stem cells from the umbilical cord lining has not only brought fame to Prof. Thang but also opened up new doors in the treatment and prevention of chronic diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer's, and rheumatism.

Prof. Phan Toan Thang and his partners are operating a laboratory at the National University of Singapore and conducting deeper researches on stem cells.

In 2008, based on Thang’s research outcomes, his wife, Nguyen Ngoc Anh founded KenCare Holdings in Singapore, which provides stem cell-based therapy for skin, wound healing and anti-aging.

Kencare has also operated in Vietnam with an aim to advance regenerative bio-medicine for the discovery and development of diagnostics and treatments in the country.

In the near future, stem cell-based technology will further develop, changing the world’s medicine and the quality of human life. Experts believe that the application of stem cells will bring about tremendous progress in Vietnam, especially in pharmaceutical production, medical services, cosmetics, and anti-aging treatments.

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