Experts dig deeper into genetic disorders in UAE

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Experts dig deeper into genetic disorders in UAE

Dubai - The project aims to predict the future of healthcare and enter a new era of genetic medicine.

By Staff Reporter

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Published: Tue 29 Jan 2019, 7:00 PM

Last updated: Tue 29 Jan 2019, 10:04 PM

The Ministry of Health and Prevention (Mohap) on Tuesday announced an experimental medical study that aims to create a better understanding of common genetic disorders in the UAE.
Through a personalised healthcare app and the fundamentals of genome science, the project is set to provide accurate diagnosis and treatment to patients, Mohap said at the Arab Health Conference and Congress, which runs until Thursday at the Dubai World Trade Centre.
The study, initiated by Emirati experts, stemmed from the discovery of a genetic mutation that appeared to be unique to the country.
Dr Youssef Mohammed Al Serkal, assistant undersecretary for the hospitals sector and chairman of the UAE Genome Project Committee, said the study is part of the UAE Genome Project, one of the ministry's pioneering initiatives.
The project, he said, aims to predict the future of healthcare and enter a new era of genetic medicine.
By taking into account the genetic factors that cause major diseases in the country, experts are working towards creating personalised treatment plans for every patient.
"We are studying the possibility of incorporating artificial intelligence in genetic screening. This initiative is conducted fully by national expertise, in collaboration with highest research centres 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," Dr Al Serkal said.
They are mapping out a genetic footprint via modern genetic modelling and sequencing technology. A genome database will then be built, complete with a reference of genetic diseases in the country and a detailed guide to the diagnosis of a number of disorders and chronic diseases.
Dr Al Serkal said all prerequisites of the UAE Genome Project will be completed by the end of 2021.
Dr Kalthoum Al Baloushi, director of hospitals administration, said several rare syndromes have already been diagnosed through genetic procedures, helping families make informed decisions on preventive measures via pre-marriage screening.
"We have performed genetic screening for heart anomalies and genetic cancer on a number of local patients. We have also analysed the genome as a whole, including 22K genes, for a number of Emirati families who gave birth to children with genetic anomalies. Identifying the genes responsible for these anomalies would help families give birth to healthy children in the future," Al Baloushi said.
A fully integrated preventive programme is being developed to help avoid genetic disorders in future generations.
asmaalizain@khaleejtimes.com
 


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