Sidra Medicine’s PMFG conference concludes with vision for healthcare advances in Qatar

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Sidra Medicine’s satellite symposium, themed ‘Unlocking the Full Potential of Precision Medicine and Overcoming the Challenges and Geographical Distribution of Advanced Therapies’, concluded Monday with more than 500 virtual attendees.
Sidra Medicine chief research officer and director of the Precision Medicine Programme, Dr Khalid Fakhro, said: “This year, PMFG2021 comprised an exciting programme with the participation of outstanding speakers, both international and from the region.”
“Their fascinating presentations allowed us to look back at the major innovations in personalised medicine over the last year and the pioneering and exciting possibilities for this field in the future,” he said. “Sidra Medicine is a leading model for precision medicine in the region, and the scientific knowledge gained through the conference will help to converge the efforts into this goal.”
The final day of the Precision Medicine and Functional Genomics (PMFG) conference (Day 3) included presentations by Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar’s Prof Khaled Machaca, Sidra Medicine’s Dr Khalid Ibrahim, Dr Kakil Ibrahim Rasul of Hamad Medical Corporation’s National Centre for Cancer Care and Research (NCCCR), Qatar Biobank’s Dr Nahla Afifi, and Dr Hadi Mohamad Abu Rasheed of the Qatar Cancer Society.
The organising chair of the Satellite Symposium, Dr Cristina Maccalli, assistant level principal investigator at Sidra Medicine’s Laboratory of Immune Biological Therapy, noted: “We held a thrilling session of the Satellite Symposium with presentations from leaders of principal institutions in Qatar involved in the translational development of precision medicine.”
“An overview of the state-of-the-art and opportunities in Qatar for precision medicine was provided by Dr Khaled Machaca,” she said. “We were also pleased to have presentations by Dr Khalid Ibrahim and Dr Kakil Rasul, who shared examples of the application of precision medicine to clinical care at Sidra Medicine and the NCCCR.”
“This allowed us to appreciate how this strategic approach can transform medicine and change the life of patients,” Dr Maccalli added.
Dr Nahla Afifi contributed to understanding Qatar Biobank’s valuable role, through its collection of biological samples and clinical information, in supporting scientists to conduct medical research on diseases prevalent in Qatar.
“A presentation by Dr Hadi Rasheed highlighted the importance of a community partnership platform and of the engagement of patients in progressing the biomedical research and the clinical care,” Dr Maccalli said.
The culminating panel discussion titled *Advanced Therapies in Qatar: More to Come was attended by Sheikh Dr Mohamed bin Hamad al-Thani of the Ministry of Public Health, Dr Afifi, Dr Ayman Saleh of Sidra Medicine, Dr Salha Bujassoum of the NCCCR, Dr Dave Brown of the Qatar Precision Medicine Institute, Dr Fakhro, and Dr Rayaz A Malik of Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar.
Speaking more broadly about capacity building in the region, Dr Fakhro concluded: “The e-poster presentations made by local students and scientists represented an added value of the programme, demonstrating how far the region has come in the past few years.”
“By bringing together researchers, academics, healthcare professionals, policymakers and community members from the region through effective networking for all stakeholders, we can advance the translation into clinical practice of precision medicine in research,” he added.
The PMFG chair also thanks the conference partners – Hamad Bin Khalifa University, Hamad Medical Corporation, Qatar Biobank, Qatar Cancer Society, Qatar Genome, Qatar University, and Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar.

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