The region’s largest diabetes research project, the Qatar Diabetes Prevention Programme (QDPP), is set to begin, following the award of a five-year funding by Qatar Foundation’s Qatar National Research Fund.
The programme is co-funded by Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) through the Academic Health System.
QDPP signifies an important milestone in diabetes prevention in Qatar and will start recruitment in early 2020.
It is comprised of seven complementary sub-projects. Project 1 aims to prevent the progression of pre-diabetes into Type 2 diabetes; Project 2 aims to find the best method to prevent gestational diabetes in subjects with diabetes risk factors discovered in pre-marital screening; Project 3 aims to find the best method to prevent progression of gestational diabetes into Type 2 diabetes; Project 4 aims to achieve diabetes remission in patients with newly diagnosed Type 2 diabetes; Project 5 aims to identify genetic factors associated with pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes; Project 6 aims to identify proteomic and metabolic markers, associated with pre-diabetes and Type 2 diabetes and Project 7 aims to develop eHealth tools and evaluate mobile apps to support lifestyle intervention for diabetes prevention and management.
“Diabetes is one of the most pressing health conditions in Qatar. It is estimated that at least 17% of the adult Qatari population has diabetes and this number is expected to rise unless wide scale steps are taken to change behaviour and address the risk factors associated with diabetes,” explained Prof Abdul-Badi Abou-Samra, director of the Qatar Metabolic Institute, chairman of Internal Medicine at HMC, and director of the QDPP.
“QDPP addresses the full spectrum of issues related to the development of diabetes and this research will identify genetic and molecular factors associated with pre-diabetes, in turn helping to target individuals at increased risk who could benefit from early intervention,” added Prof Abou-Samra.
The research programme is the result of a multi-institutional research collaboration between healthcare, education, and research organisations. The research programme aims to identify the best methods to predict, prevent, and reverse Type 2 diabetes.
“The Academic Health System seeks to transform healthcare by ensuring that research and education are seamlessly integrated with clinical practice through close collaboration between healthcare providers and academic partners in order to drive clinical innovation and improve patient care,” explained Prof Michael Frenneaux, chief, Scientific, Academic and Faculty Affairs at HMC.
The research project will support the National Diabetes Strategy, led by the Ministry of Public Health and specifically the launch of a country-wide screening programme through HMC and the Primary Health Care Corporation (PHCC).
“PHCC is performing multiple screening programmes to identify populations at risk which will support QDPP. Successful implementation of the family medicine programme and screening in 27 health centres provide a comprehensive and continuous foundation in a personalised manner and forms the foundation for the prevention programme,” explained Dr Samya Ahmad al-Abdulla, executive director of operation, PHCC.
Weill Cornell College of Medicine, Qatar Biomedical Research Institute, Qatar Computing Research Institute of Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Qatar Genome Programme, Qatar Biobank, Qatar Diabetes Association, Sidra Medicine, and Droobi Health will also participate with HMC and PHCC in the initiative.
Dr Asmaa al-Thani, chair of the Qatar Genome Programme, vice-chair of Qatar BioBank, and dean of the College of Health Sciences, Qatar University, calls the project an important opportunity to progress the understanding of precision medicine.
“The Qatar Genome Programme in collaboration with Qatar Biobank provides an important platform upon which to elevate Qatar as a pioneer of precision medicine with the capability of serving the health needs of the Qatari population. QDPP presents a rare opportunity to bring together the wealth of knowledge and expertise in Qatar to address a major worldwide health concern,” said Dr al-Thani.
QDPP has also engaged several global leading experts from Kings College London, Imperial College London, University of Glasgow, University College Dublin, and the University of Valencia.
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