Developing Affordable Biomedical Materials in Pakistan
A World Class Medical Research Centre in Pakistan
The Interdisciplinary Research Centre in Biomedical Materials (IRCBM), was established by UK academic Professor Ihtesham Rehman, in 2008 in COMSATS University Lahore. In Pakistan, hundreds of people require biomedical materials products everyday, however, such items are generally extremely expensive imports. Consequently, the majority of Pakistanis receive poor quality or dangerous substitutes for implants.
The Concept: "From Laboratory to the Patient"
For over a decade, Prof Ihtesham's team has been developing home grown biomedical materials products in Pakistan that even the poorest in society would be able to afford. This includes low cost bone and body tissue replacements, wound healing patches (burns victims) and dental materials. Much of the research is now entering the commercialisation phase.
Professor Ihtesham Rehman (UPSIGN Deputy Chair)
Lancaster University UK
IRCBM research is supported through grants but in order to fully develop manufaturing cababilities, it requires charitable or additional investment or funds. Please get in contact with UPSIGN below if you want to donate or support them directly.
The lack of biomaterials came into focus after the Earthquake in 2005 that killed 87,000 people and displaced 3.5 million:
On the morning of October 8th 2005, the need for affordable healthcare was brought into sharp focus as a deadly earthquake (magnitude 7.6) struck Pakistan-administered Azad Kashmir, near the city of Muzaffarabad and surrounding areas.
A large number of people required medical interventions such as skin grafts, implants and bone fixing plates but these were not readily available. Indeed, such as was state of some of the injuries and so overwhelmed were the medical emergency services, that many hundreds of people had to have amputations to crushed body parts in order to save their lives. Despite the heroic efforts of the orthopaedic surgeons on the ground, some of the amputations could have been prevented if Pakistan had a supply of affordable biomedical materials
Over a decade later...
The research and excellence in development biomedical tools over the last decade is akin to any research lab anywhere else in the world in the subject. Researchers from China and the rest of Asia have visited the centre to learn and collaborate.
The centre has published over 300 academic publications in the last decade and has greatly contributed to academic understanding and training of scientists in the area of biomedical materials as well as developing new ethical guidelines with regulators in Pakistan.
The ICRBM has now begun to file patents in medical products and even licensed wound healing materials to Austrailia and inside Pakistan, and is now at an exciting phase where it is about to expand into another building and manufacturing facility which is purpose-built through a recent grant of over 1 million Pakistani rupees.