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Dubai to open UAE’s first robotic biobank to boost medical research and discovery

In collaboration with the Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU) and the Dubai Health Authority, Al Jalila Foundation, a member of Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, has announced the establishment of the UAE’s first robotic biobank (DHA). The partnership will focus on genetic abnormalities, cancer, and other chronic diseases and pandemics.

The biobank, which is expected to open in 2023 and has a capacity of seven million specimens, will be one of the largest in the world in terms of sample capacity. The Mohammed Bin Rashid Medical Research Institute in Dubai Healthcare City, which is part of the Al Jalila Foundation, will house the institution.

The biobank will become an invaluable resource for the upcoming Hamdan Bin Rashid Cancer Charity Hospital and other UAE healthcare facilities to conduct research and provide appropriate treatment due to the critical role biobanks play in improving research and medical discovery.

Sheikh Ahmed Bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairperson of the Al Jalila Foundation Board of Trustees, stated that biobanks are enabling pioneering ways of analyzing that would have been inconceivable only a few years ago. Dubai’s dedication to boosting the healthcare sector’s skills and increasing efforts to improve people’s health is reflected in the opening of the UAE’s first robotic biobank. The biobank will play a significant role in the evolution of contemporary medicine by facilitating scientific breakthroughs that will benefit the community’s health and well-being.

A biobank is a repository for human biological samples such as blood, tissue, cells, and bodily fluids. It also keeps track of sample data and other biomolecular resources that might be used in health research. Biobanks have grown in importance in medical research, assisting in the development of diagnostics and medicines as well as genomics and personalized medicine.

Dr Raja Easa Al Gurg, Chairperson of Al Jalila Foundation Board of Directors and Member of the Board of Trustees, said: “Biobanking is a game-changer for healthcare and will revolutionize medical research, leading to better outcomes for patient treatment. The biobank will provide an opportunity for people in the community and researchers to work together to build a better, healthier future for generations to come. Scientific progress will shape the nation’s economy by influencing our knowledge about human health, disease, therapeutics, personalized medicine, and more,” said Dr Raja Easa Al Gurg, the Chairperson of Al Jalila Foundation Board of Directors and Member of the Board of Trustees.

The Al Jalila Foundation will invest AED17 million to construct a cutting-edge facility that will house seven million human biological materials. Biological samples will be stored in cryogenic storage (below 80 degrees Celsius) using an automated, robotic, Artificial Intelligence-based system, which will assure sample integrity and retrieval.

According to Dr. Abdulkareem Sultan Al Olama, CEO of Al Jalila Foundation, the Biorepositories are places where you can store patient samples and really serve as a hub of collaboration between scientists for doing either population health studies, or looking at cohorts of patients who have specific diseases, and trying to find better therapeutics and diagnostics to treat patients and save lives.

In accordance with UAE laws and regulations, patient confidentiality will be prioritized. Scientists will use the biological and medical data in order to produce new discoveries regarding common and life-threatening diseases like cancer, heart disease, and stroke in order to enhance public health.

The UAE’s diversified population, which includes people of all ethnicities and nationalities, will provide an excellent platform for comparative studies on genetic, environmental, dietary, and behavioral factors. Researchers can gain access to data that represents a huge number of people through biobanks. Multiple researchers can commonly use samples in biobanks and the data obtained from those samples for cross-purpose research investigations.

The UAE’s first robotic biobank will attract strategic collaboration opportunities with important healthcare authorities and partners in the region and around the world. The partnerships will fund groundbreaking scientific research and speed medical breakthroughs that will improve the lives of people.

It will use optimal biobanking techniques and adhere to the strictest compliance rules and ethical standards while collecting, processing, storing, and analyzing biological samples and data for research into genetic and environmental factors that influence human health and disease.KMB/Expat Media


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