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San Antonio: a Leader in Health Care and Bioscience Research Industries

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Our city is increasingly being recognized as a national center for bioscience research and innovation. It is served by 4 civilian health care systems, along with other hospitals, specialty providers and more than 4,000 physicianst.

It is also becoming the home of U.S. military medicine. The Department of Defense is currently consolidating its Army and Air Force hospitals into the San Antonio Military Medical Center, the nation’s largest military medical treatment center; with a training complex for U.S. military medics.

These industries are leading engines of San Antonio’s economy with an annual economic impact of $24.5 billion. They employ one out of every six people in the city’s workforce and pay more than $6.5 billion annually in wages and salaries.

With such a budding industry in our city former Mayor Henry Cisneros along with Joe Krier, former president and CEO of The Greater San Antonio Chamber of Commerce, had the idea to create BioMed SA with the objective of having a cluster organization to structure and promote San Antonio’s extensive health care and bioscience assets. Its main purpose is establishing it as a leader in health care and bioscience.

  • BioMed SA determined five disease areas in which San Antonio has assets of national and international caliber:
  • Diabetes and obesity
  • Military/regenerative medicine (wound care and trauma)
  • Neuroscience
  • Cancer care and research
  • Infectious diseases

Always on the lookout for new business prospects and investments BioMed SA works internationally participating in trade missions. Most recently, Mayor Julian Castro traveled to Israel and signed an agreement to work with BioJesuralem, where the organizations will work together to facilitate relationships between companies and institutions, helping the economy and health of both regions.

Here are some facts about the 5 areas addressed by BioMed SA:

Diabetes and obesity

• Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in America, the sixth in Texas and the fourth in Bexar County.

• 60% percent of San Antonians who are of Hispanic descent are twice as likely as non-Hispanics to develop type 2 diabetes.

• Anyone with a first-degree relative who is diabetic is at much higher risk of becoming diabetic.

• In Texas, 1.7 million were diagnosed with some type of diabetes (9.3% of the population); in Bexar County, 137, 000 were  diagnosed (11.8% of the population).

• Dr. Sherwyn  Schwartz founded the Diabetes and Glandular Disease Clinic more than 30 years ago, and today it is one of the largest facilities in the nation.

• The University Health System’s Texas Diabetes Institute, the world leader in diabetes research, provides treatment, prevention and education under the leadership of Dr. Ralph DeFronzo, the world leader in diabetes research.

• San Antonio’s Diabetes and Glandular Disease Clinic is the largest independently owned endocrinology clinic in the country; it has its own on-site lab where it processes 1.5 million blood tests a year.

• Medtronic recently selected San Antonio for its new Diabetes Therapy Management and Education Center; it employs 1,000 people and has committed to create 400 additional jobs over the next 5 years.

Military/regenerative medicine (wound care and trauma)

• San Antonio will become the nation’s largest military medical treatment center and training complex.

• University Hospital and Brooke Army Medical Center provide Level I trauma care.

• Kinetic Concepts, Inc. and other start-ups are bringing advanced wound care products.

Neuroscience

• Dr. George Perry, (professor of biology and dean of the College of Sciences at UTSA) and Dr. Francisco González-Scarano, dean of the School of Medicine and vice president for medical affairs at UTHSC, are two of the top neuroscientist working in Texas.

Cancer care and research

• The Start Center treats cancer patients and conducts Phase I trials of new oncology agents.

• Genzyme and other startups are working to commercialize new cancer drugs and devices.

Infectious diseases

• The Texas Biomedical Research Institute is a world leader in infectious disease research and operates America´s only privately owned biosafety level 4 laboratory.

• The Texas Center for Infectious Diseases has opened the nation’s largest, state of the art hospital for treating complex cases of tuberculosis.

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