Qatar will soon set up a tissue bank to help contribute to research, especially on cancer and improve the healthcare scenario in the country, a senior official of Hamad Medical Corporation disclosed on Wednesday.
"We have a meeting today (Thursday) to discuss the modalities of the programme," explained Dr Mohamed Ben Gashir, consultant pathologist, Department of Laboratory Medicine and Pathology, HMC, on the sidelines of the Qatar Biobank Conference.
“The tissue bank aims to collect samples from people diagnosed with diseases. We are planning to make it as comprehensive as possible. The major focus will be on cancer and it will enable scientists to conduct effective research on several diseases,” explained Dr Gashir.
"We plan to collect samples from tumours as well as normal tissue from blood, urine and saliva samples. We expect that it will be a step in leading to personalised medicine as well as developing true healthcare model at national and international level,” he continued.
According to the official, people diagnosed with diseases will have to consent for collection of the tissues. “The patients will be informed about the purpose of collecting the tissues and how they will be used. There is no age limit or any other restriction on people who can contribute the tissues,” he noted.
“Initially, we are focusing more on cancer such as breast cancer or colon cancer. We will expand it to other benign diseases too. We hope that the findings of the research on the tissues will lead to research papers on high impact journals,” told the official.
According to Dr Gashir, the Ministry of Public Health is drafting guidelines on the initiative. “Apart from the ministry, Qatar Foundation for Education Science and Community Development as well as the HMC and other institutions will contribute to the establishment of the tissue bank. It will be a separate entity but will complement the Qatar Biobank,” added the official.