New UAE-Israel agreement to promote cancer, diabetes research

Researchers will also conduct a joint study on mass vitamin D deficiency in the region

Representational image
Representational image

A Staff Reporter

Published: Wed 13 Jul 2022, 1:20 PM

Kahn-Sagol-Maccabi (KSM), the research and innovation centre of Israel's Maccabi Healthcare Services, and UAE health organizations have signed a series of comprehensive strategic agreements to promote joint medical research and technological innovation.

According to the Abu Dhabi Media Office, the agreements were signed this week in Abu Dhabi, with Dr Tal Patalon, Head of KSM; Ashish Ipe Koshy, CEO of G42 Health, a leading health tech company responsible for the Emirati Genome Program; and Saeed Al Kuwaiti, CEO of SEHA, UAE's leading health organization. Also joining the signing ceremony were Amir Hayek, Israel's Ambassador to the UAE, and Aviad Tamir, Israel's economic attaché to Abu Dhabi.

Notably, this is the first agreement that SEHA has signed with an Israeli organization. The SEHA-KSM partnership will also support the Emirate's goal of building a genomic research registry to optimize clinical data, sample collection and clinical reporting.

The agreements focus on promoting medical research that combines big data capabilities and genetic and clinical research with the goal of advancing personalized medicine while emphasizing medical innovation and the establishment of a regional ecosystem that will support joint research activities. Studies will be conducted in cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes and more.

"This partnership supports SEHA's vision and objectives of exploring collaboration opportunities in other areas that foster cooperation in education, research, health technology, and clinical programs. We look forward to a successful partnership and extending this program to our facilities and distinguished practitioners," said SEHA Group CEO Saeed Al Kuwaiti.

A joint study with G42 Health [AG2] is also already underway to examine the medical consequences of vitamin D deficiency. More than one billion people worldwide suffer from vitamin D deficiency, and the condition is common throughout the Middle East. The joint study will examine the impact of genetics on vitamin D metabolism that affects vitamin D status in both Israeli and Emirati populations to better understand risk factors for the deficiency.

"As the UAE and Israel continue to forge stronger ties, this collaboration comes at an opportune time as we join forces with an ambitious and committed partner like Kahn-Sagol-Maccabi (KSM). We are excited to shape a multitude of initiatives across research projects, clinical trials and growing our CRO services for the benefit of academia, governments, healthcare entities and the population at large in both countries, as we invent better healthcare everyday.

This further expands on the existing, a first of its kind, genetic research which aims to facilitate a preventative pharmacogenomics strategy for individuals based on understanding the genetic landscape of vitamin D deficiency in UAE and Israel", commented Ashish Koshy, CEO of G42 Healthcare.

The agreements with Abu Dhabi come on the heels of KSM's recent collaboration with Bahrain's Ministry of Health. KSM expects to sign further agreements with additional countries in the future.


"We continue to build research collaborations with various countries in the region, implementing our vision of a shared innovative ecosystem that promotes research and development of advanced personalized medicine, while creating added value within the whole region," said Dr. Patalon.

"We are thrilled and proud that another significant step has been taken to promote relations between Israel and the UAE," added Ambassador Hayek, Israel's Ambassador to the UAE. "The field of medicine is of critical importance to both countries and a partnership of this kind can improve the health of the residents of our countries as well as the entire Middle East."

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