Meet a Biotherapist
Meet a Biotherapist: Kosta Y. Mumcuoglu
Q: What drew you to biotherapy?
A: In general, the desire to help people; in particular, I wanted to help those who suffer from parasites as well as from acute and chronic wounds.
Q: What is your specialty within biotherapy?
A: Since 1996, I have been working with the treatment of chronic wounds using maggots. Beginning in 2005, I also became active in hirudotherapy, which uses the medicinal leech, Hirudo medicinalis, to salvage compromised microvascular free-tissue transfers and replanted digits due to venous congestion.
Q: How many patients have you treated?
A: Personally I have treated over 600 patients with approximately 1,000 chronic wounds and by applying around 3,000 single treatments to these patients. In addition, I have treated close to 50 patients with leeches to salvage their tissue transplantations and fingers.
Q: Is maggot therapy officially accepted as a treatment modality for chronic wounds in Israel?
A: Yes, in 2011 maggot debridement therapy (MDT) was officially accepted by the Israeli Ministry of Health for the treatment of chronic wounds.
Q: Who else is using maggot therapy in your country and how many additional patients have been treated?
A: About 200 patients have been treated by physicians, who were instructed by me on how to use this treatment modality. Additionally, I supplied those physicians with sterile maggots, which I produced in my laboratory. An additional 2,200 patients have been treated by the CWT company, which is now producing and distributing sterile maggots all over the country.
Q: What else did you do for the field of Biotherapy?
A: In 1998, I organized the 3rd International Conference on Biotherapy in Jerusalem, and I have been active in the organization of the 4th, 5th, 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th International Conferences on Biotherapy worldwide. Between the years 1999-2011 I was the president of the International Society for Biotherapy (IBS). In 2015 I was re-elected as president of IBS. My group published over 20 articles on MDT and 4 articles on hirudotherapy. I acted as one of the co-authors for the books: Biotherapy - History, Principles and Practice: A Practical Guide to the Diagnosis and Treatment of Disease using Living Organisms. Springer Pub., Heidelberg, 2013 (Grassberger et al., eds) and for Multidisciplinary and Biologically Based Natural Therapies - Biotherapy (Apitherapy, Hirudotherapy, Maggot Therapy and Ichthiotherapy), 2015 (Tamyuksel & Mumcuoglu, eds.), Meta Basım, İzmir. Last but not least, I was able to introduce MDT to countries such as Switzerland and Turkey.
Q: Have you received any awards for all these activities?
A: In 2010, I received the BTER Foundation's William S. Baer Award for Outstanding Service in the Advancement of Biotherapy, while in 2010 I became a honorary lifetime member of the BTER Foundation.
Q: How are you promoting biotherapy in your country and abroad?
A: I give lectures to students of veterinary medicine, biologists and pharmacists, as well as to nurses and physicians in different universities in both Israel and Turkey. I participate in congresses, at which I often give presentations on maggot therapy and hirudotherapy. At the moment, I am organizing the 10th IBS conference in Istanbul, Turkey and acting as the webmaster of the Society website.
Q: Where could we hear more about your work?
A: Details on my scientific activity and a full list of my publications can be found from the following link: https://medicine.ekmd.huji.ac.il/En/Publications/ResearchersPages/pages/kostasm.aspx