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Okyanos Heart Institute

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Eric Duckers, M.D., Joins Okyanos Heart Institute Medical Advisory Council

Dr. Duckers, Head of Molecular Cardiology Laboratory at The Thoraxcenter, Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam, to Contribute Expertise on Cell and Molecular Cardiovascular Biology

Freeport, Bahamas, The, July 28, 2012 --( Okyanos Heart Institute (, which brings a new standard of care and a better quality of life to patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) using cardiac cell therapy, has announced the expansion of its medical advisory council with the addition of Eric Duckers, M.D., Ph.D., FESC, FACC. Dr. Duckers serves as an interventional cardiologist and the head of the Molecular Cardiology Laboratory at the Thoraxcenter, Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam in the Netherlands. He is the principal investigator of the ADVANCE trial, which treats patients within 24 hours of an acute heart attack using cells from a person’s own fat tissue, known as adipose-derived stem and regenerative cells. Previously, Duckers served as an investigator for the PRECISE trial, which treated patients with chronic coronary artery disease who had exhausted all options from conventional treatment and upon which the Okyanos Heart Institute cardiac cell therapy treatment is based. As a member of the medical advisory council, Duckers will provide extensive insight on cell biology and the mechanisms of action that these cells have on improving heart function and repairing damage to the heart muscle as a result of a heart attack.

Duckers obtained his doctorate degree from the Rudolf Magnus Institute in 1993, which preceded his work as a postdoctoral fellow at the Netherlands Institute for Brain Research. He received his Doctorate of Medicine cum laude at the University of Utrecht and has visited various research centers across the United States, including the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute in Bethesda, Md., St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center at Tufts University in Boston and the Cardiovascular Research Center at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor, where he worked from 1996 to 1999. Following his studies, he independently established a molecular cardiovascular biology program and a clinical cardiovascular stem cell therapy program for acute and chronic coronary artery disease at the Thoraxcenter, Erasmus University Medical Center Rotterdam.

The Okyanos Medical Advisory Council serves as a leadership council to provide medical guidelines and innovation in cardiac cell therapy and to further assist Okyanos Heart Institute in providing the highest standard of care to patients with chronic coronary artery disease.

“A key opinion leader in cardiac cell therapy research, Dr. Duckers provides an extensive understanding and working knowledge of cell biology and mechanisms as they relate to improving heart function and repairing damaged heart tissue,” said Howard T. Walpole Jr., M.D., MBA, FACC, FACAI, FSCAI and chief medical officer for Okyanos Heart Institute. “We look forward to having Dr. Duckers serve on our medical advisory council, as we expect that he will provide a unique background that will contribute to our commitment to provide superior outcomes for our patients.”

“Dr. Duckers’ expertise in molecular cardiovascular biology and his cardiac cell therapy trial experience serve as a valuable asset to Okyanos Heart Institute’s efforts in bringing a new standard of care and a better quality of life to CAD patients,” said Matt Feshbach, co-founder and CEO of Okyanos Heart Institute. “His commitment to the advancement of safe and effective cardiac cell therapy treatments has helped lead the way in this emerging field. We are pleased to have his participation on the Okyanos Medical Advisory Council.”

“I am excited to join the Okyanos Medical Advisory Council and have the unique opportunity to work with recognized leaders in the study and practice of cardiovascular treatments to provide CAD patients with a better quality of life,” said Duckers. “Additionally, I look forward to working to advance the science behind Okyanos Heart Institute’s cardiac cell therapy treatments in an effort to improve the lives of individuals suffering from chronic CAD.”

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About Okyanos Heart Institute:
Based in Freeport, The Bahamas, the Okyanos Heart Institute is a Center of Excellence (CoE) adhering to U.S. surgical center standards and led by Chief Medical Officer Howard T. Walpole Jr., M.D., MBA, FACC, FACAI, FSCAI, a leader of the American College of Cardiology for many years. The mission of Okyanos Heart Institute is to bring a new standard of care and a better quality of life to patients with chronic coronary artery disease using cardiac cell therapy. The Okyanos Treatment utilizes cardiac cell therapy, a unique blend of stem and regenerative cells to support the growth of new blood vessels and to assist the heart in repairing tissue damaged by heart attack and disease. The Greek god of rivers, “Okyanos” symbolizes the primary mechanism of action that these adult stem cells have on ischemic (lack of blood flow) heart tissue, the result of the plaque deposits in the coronary arteries. The stem cells, derived from a person’s adipose (fat) tissue, create new blood vessels, a process known as angiogenesis. These cells facilitate blood flow in the heart and intake and use of oxygen, as measured by a rigorous clinical trial known as the PRECISE trial, as well as cardiac cell therapy trials at leading research institutions. For more information, visit

Anjelica Cummings
MMI Public Relations
(919) 233-6600
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Okyanos Heart Institute
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