Ministry of Health and Prevention announces a globally pioneering project to study genetic diseases using genome science and personal medicine #Dubai - Dubai City Guide
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Ministry of Health and Prevention announces a globally pioneering project to study genetic diseases using genome science and personal medicine
(29 January 2019)

 

The UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention announced today an experimental medical study that aims to create a better understanding of common genetic disorders in the UAE society. The study project will use genome science and a personalized healthcare app, in order to provide accurate diagnosis and treatment to patients. 

The announcement comes during the Ministry's participation in Arab Health Conference & Congress 2019, held at Dubai World Trade Centre, 28-31 January. 

The study initiative, conducted by Emirati expertise, succeeded in discovering a new genetic mutation never discovered before. 

The UAE Genome Project
H.E. Dr. Youssef Mohammed Al Serkal, Assistant Undersecretary for the Hospitals Sector, and Chairman of the UAE Genome Project Committee, said that the study is part of the UAE Genome Project, one of the pioneering initiatives at MOHAP. The project, Al Serkal continued, aims to predict the future of healthcare and enter a new era of genetic medicine based on a wealth of genetic information as a part of clinical care. The goal, according to the Assistant Undersecretary, is to enhance prevention of diseases listed in the National Agenda 2021, such as obesity, diabetes, hypertension, cancer, and asthma, to achieve personalized treatment plans for each patient according to genetic factors. This will be achieved via using genome science and modern genetic modeling and sequencing technology to identify the genetic footprint and build a genome database along with a reference glossary of genetic diseases in the country, including a detailed guide to diagnosis of genetic disorders and some chronic diseases.

Huge Impact on Future Health Policies in the UAE
Dr. Al Serkal explained that all prerequisites of the UAE Genome Project will be completed by the end of 2021, in line with the National Innovation Strategy. “We are studying the possibility of incorporating AI in genetic screening. This initiative is conducted fully by national expertise, in collaboration with highest research centers in the world. The initiative will have a huge impact on healthcare policies in the future, and will place the UAE as a leader in the healthcare innovation, thus elevating its position on the global competitiveness index,” he added. 
H.E. Dr. Al Serkal also highlighted the high competence of national professinals who complete dthe study in accordance with highest international standards. This comes in line with the Ministry's efforts to establish a nurturing environment for research and development.

Genome analysis
For her part, Dr. Kalthoum Al Baloushi, Director of Hospitals Administration, explained that MOHAP exerted every effort to avail genetic diagnostic procedures, which helped identify the genes responsible for a number of disorders. This helped diagnosing several rare syndromes, helping familie sto make decisions on preventive measures and reproduction via pre-marriage screening. A fully integrated preventive program is being developed to help avoid genetic disorders in future generations.

Genetic medicine is based on offering healthcare based on the specific genetic set of each patient individually, as part of clinical care. “We have performed genetic screening for heart anomalies and genetic cancer on a number of local patients. We have also analyzed the genome as a whole, including 22K genes, for a number of Emirati families who gave birth to children with genetic anomalies, to identify genes responsible for these anomalies and help these families give birth to healthy children in the future,” she added.

It is worth mentioning that the study will help in pre-marriage screening, especially with the high rates of relative marriage in the UAE society, which increases risks of genetic diseases. MOHAP therefore launched a number of projects in genetic diseases and genetic pharmacology, which aim to treat patients based on their genetic changes. This helps achieve more accurate diagnosis and allows doctors to prescribe suitable medications with accurate dosage.


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