Precision medicine with the help of biobanks can facilitate healthcare systems plan preventive measures to combat several diseases, experts noted Wednesday at a panel discussion during the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) 2022.
Dr Nahla Maher Afifi, director of Qatar Biobank, Qatar Foundation, said that in Qatar, all the partners in the precision medicine programme are part of the larger programme including academics, researchers, universities among others.
“We also have the clinical eco-system of Cerner, a common platform for the healthcare faciliites. In addition to the Biobank we also have the research centres in Qatar University, Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) among others that contribute to precision medicine,” she said.
“Precision medicine leads to preventive practices with the help of the data made available through the Biobank as we diagnose people and understand the basic issues through the collection of samples. Through our data, we found that about 20% of the population are in the pre-diabetes stage while 25% is pre-hypertensive. With this data we work out plans that will prevent the population from developing these diseases further and make them live healthier,” added Dr Afifi.
Dr Michaelath Maryrhofer, head of ELSI Services and research, BBMRI- ERIC; Alison Parry Jones, operations director, Wales Cancer Biobank; Dr Zisis Kozlakidis, head of Laboratory Services and Biobanking,IARC, WHO and Prof Dr Karine Sargsyan, managing director for International Biobanking and Education, Medical University of Graz were also part of the discussion. The session was moderated by Yalda Hakim, a BBC journalist.
Dr Kozlakidis explained what precision medicine is and how it benefits the population and healthcare systems to get prepared for any medical situation. “Precision medicine provides valuable inputs with the help of data collected through biobanks and help healthcare systems reach solutions. We have several such examples especially during the Covid-19 pandemic,” he noted.
The experts also said that it was important to get connected to the data which will provide added value to the findings and solutions.