UAE: Breast cancer prevention, precision medicine to be advanced by new partnership

Findings could be utilised to optimise personalised drug-based interventions for patients


Ashwani Kumar

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Photo: Supplied
Photo: Supplied

Published: Mon 6 May 2024, 4:52 PM

Last updated: Mon 6 May 2024, 4:54 PM

M42, an Abu Dhabi-headquartered tech-enabled health company, and AstraZeneca, a global leader in science-led biopharmaceuticals, inked an agreement to advance preventive cancer care and next-generation precision medicine.

As AstraZeneca’s clinical genomics partner of choice in the region, M42 will conduct sequencing of hereditary breast cancer genes, to develop personalised care and prevention strategies tailored to the specific needs of each patient.

Breast cancer is the most common cancer among women worldwide. According to the Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP), it is the leading cause of cancer death, resulting in 11.6 per cent of all cancer fatalities every year in the UAE.

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By facilitating the sequencing of cancer genes, M42 will facilitate in determining each patient’s genetic risk for cancer, thus ensuring that preventive measures can be explored in the early stages or even before the cancer develops. The partnership is providing one of the first companion diagnostics programmes in the Gulf, with findings that could be utilised to optimise personalised drug-based interventions for patients. The programme aims to enable preventive cancer care among all patients in UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar.

“This pioneering programme, powered by disruptive omics technologies, aims to enable personalised cancer treatment and intervention, contributing directly to patient outcomes and paving the way for preventive medicine, in keeping with our mission to support people, not just patients, and prevention, not just treatment,” Dr Fahed Al Marzooqi, deputy group chief operating officer at M42, said.

Peter Raouf, GCC oncology business unit director at AstraZeneca, said the collaboration is a significant step forward in advancing personalised precision medicine in cancer research.

“At AstraZeneca, we are happy to be pioneering efforts in preventative cancer care by utilising M42’s state-of-the-art genomics expertise. It is our priority to continue striving to enhance patient outcomes for the health of people, society, and the planet.”

The sequencing will be carried out at M42’s Omics Centre of Excellence, one of the largest multi-omics research facilities in the world with a specific focus on generating advanced genomics knowledge. The centre has been instrumental in facilitating one of the largest population genomic initiatives in the world, the Emirati Genome Programme.

For this study, research efforts will focus on patients from UAE, Kuwait, Oman, Bahrain and Qatar to strengthen genomics knowledge related to non-Western population groups, which are typically under-represented in clinical research. Under the agreement, the first hospital to collect genomics data from consenting patients will be Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi.


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