Project to map genetic code of citizens

December 11, 2013 - 6:10:48 am

H H Sheikha Moza bint Nasser taking part in a panel session during the opening of WISH 2013 yesterday.AR Al Baker
DOHA: H H Sheikha Moza bint Nasser yesterday launched Qatar’s human genome project, a groundbreaking initiative to map the genetic code of citizens for better diagnoses and treatment of various diseases.

She announced the project, Qatar Genome, while addressing the opening session of the first World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH 2013) at Qatar National Convention Centre.

“As a result of the integration of scientific research and clinical realities, I am pleased to announce the project ‘Qatar Genome,’ a project that consists of a future road map for personalised medicine,’’ said Sheikha Moza.

‘Qatar Genome’ will be implemented in three phases: collecting samples, analysing them, and then working on tailored medicine. It will aim at understanding the diseases that affect Qataris.

The human genome project internationally serves as a source of detailed information about the structure, organisation and function of the complete set of human genes (genome). This information is considered the basic set of “instructions” for the development and function of a human being.

Genome studies are moving from analysing the personal DNA code of individuals for research purposes to clinical applications such as treatments tailored to the genetic make-up of cancers.

Understanding of genetics will also allow safer drug prescription, and more effective treatment of diseases and conditions that affect the patient.

Some of the world’s most pressing healthcare challenges, including obesity, mental health, and road traffic injuries, are the main focus of WISH 2013.

“During this conference we aim to provide the ideal environment for intellectual interchange of ideas and to benefit from our shared experiences in the search for comprehensive, pioneering solutions that cover the necessities of each specialty,’’ Sheikha Moza said.

WISH 2013 has brought together more than 500 global health innovators, including heads of state, ministers, senior government officials, academics and influential business leaders. Over two days, these key figures will discuss practical, sustainable and innovative ways to address some of the big global health challenges.

In an opening discussion Sheikha Moza, Princess Lalla Salma of Morocco, the Duke of York KG, Professor the Lord Darzi of Denham, the Chairman for the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London and Executive Chair of WISH, and Sir Donald Tsang of Hong Kong shared their experience and views on enhancing healthcare.

Lord Darzi said, “We must embrace the innovation we need to secure the health we want. Better health for all of us, whoever we are and wherever we live. Yet, too often, policy plays catch up with innovation rather than supporting and making it. This summit is about getting one step ahead. Our ambition is to lead our health systems to a better future by learning from each other and by embracing innovation.”

The summit’s forums, chaired by experts, seek to stimulate discussion and encourage the uptake of innovative approaches for dealing with obesity, mental health, road traffic injuries, accountable care, antimicrobial resistance, end-of-life, patient engagement, and big data and healthcare. 

Drawing on the most exciting innovations in these fields from around the world, the forums will identify practical options for policymakers which have the potential to positively impact upon these pressing challenges and improve healthcare for all.

Simon Stevens, president of Global health division at the United Health Group delivered the keynote address on the importance of innovation.

WISH will today unveil a Global Innovation Diffusion Study, the first of its kind, to assess eight countries in terms of how their systems contribute toward transformative change — whether through innovation in technology, processes or business models.

The Peninsula
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