Through its ongoing collection of genome samples and information about the health and lifestyles of local populations, Qatar Biobank is creating a path towards personalised medicine to promote better health for the people of Qatar.
The pilot phase of the initiative has significant revealed insights into the health of Qatar’s local population. Data indicates high overweight and obesity levels, and a 17% rate of diabetes in the adults who took part in the study.
Further explorations into the samples at Qatar Biobank will enable researchers to better understand why some people in Qatar are more predisposed to a particular preventable disease than others. Once they have determined the contributing factors, they can develop tailored treatments based on that individual’s unique medical history and genetic makeup.
The prevalence of diseases, such as diabetes, cancer and neurological disorders, in Qatar currently pose a serious threat to the national healthcare sector and overall health of the population
In recent years, personalised medicine has begun to take shape and increases both the quality and efficiency of care, leading to better outcomes at lower costs. The launch of Qatar Biobank in 2012, by HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser, chairperson of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development (QF), has significantly advanced personalised medicine, making vital health research possible for researchers in Qatar, the region and worldwide.
Since its inception, Qatar Biobank has collected genome samples from 6,000 volunteers as part of its recently completed pilot phase, including more than 5,000 Qataris, whose donations have provided a comprehensive resource for geneticists, biomedical experts and other medical researchers.
Dr. Asma al-Thani, board vice chairperson of Qatar Biobank, said, “The information collected at Qatar Biobank will give scientists unique insights into the causes of various diseases and enable healthcare professionals in Qatar and the region to develop better prevention methods and personalised treatments compatible with each individual’s genomic coding."
"Equipped with biomedical information, it will be possible to develop better prevention, diagnosis and treatment of cardiovascular disease, obesity, cancer, diabetes and a wide range of other serious illnesses for future generations of Qataris,” she added.
Because the programme’s results improve with every sample received, the initiative enables the local population to help each other become healthier through their participation.
Prior to Qatar Biobank’s launch, the majority of medical treatments received were developed through the study of Western populations, with a lack of large-scale research based on local and regional populations. Hence, Qatar Biobank has ushered in a new era for personalised healthcare in Qatar.
Qatar Biobank will host the second Qatar Biobanking Congress from March 14 - 15. The conference under the theme ‘The Impact of Biobanking on Precision Medicine Initiatives’ will focus on precision medicine initiatives in Qatar and around the world as part of its mission to bring personalised healthcare to the country.
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