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Fri 28 Feb 2020 12:53 AM

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UAE launches Genome Centre to address 'serious gap' in healthcare

Al Jalila, the UAE's only children's hospital, has launched the Genome Centre, the first comprehensive genetic testing and counselling centre in the country

UAE launches Genome Centre to address 'serious gap' in healthcare

The centre, which will provide genomic testing and counselling for children and adults, aims to address the "serious gap" in the region for complex genetic testing, said Dr Abdulla Al Khayat, CEO of Al Jalila.

Al Jalila Children’s, the UAE's only children’s hospital, has launched the Genome Centre, the first comprehensive genetic testing and counselling centre in the country.

The centre, which will provide genomic testing and counselling for children and adults, aims to address the "serious gap" in the region for complex genetic testing, said Dr Abdulla Al Khayat, CEO of Al Jalila.

With its diagnostics laboratory and clinic, in addition to a team of western board certified experts in precision medicine, the centre will offer the regional community specialised genetic counselling to support patients, families, and other doctors, state news agency WAM reported.

Al Khayat said: "The launch of the Genomics Centre at Al Jalila Children’s is another milestone for the hospital and an important step in our endeavour to elevate the standards of healthcare along with other stakeholders in the UAE.

"We have invested in creating the Genomics Centre as an answer to address the serious gap in the region for complex genetic testing, making the accessibility to these tests faster and more cost effective compared to other labs across the world, while noting the increasing demand and the huge potential of medical advancements and discoveries through the data captured in the tests. This would result in personalised medicine for children and adults, hence more effective treatments."

The centre is accredited by the College of American Pathologists, and uses highly advanced molecular technologies, bioinformatics pipelines, and interprets workflows consistent with guidelines by the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics.

Dr Ramadan AlBlooshi, chief regulatory officer, Dubai Healthcare City Authority, said: "We have in place regulations to enable human genome research studies in Dubai Healthcare City. Apart from research, genomics is being explored to provide another tool to interpret a patient’s health and medical data."

It has also signed two contracts with leading medical entities for the purposes of precise genomic diagnostics - Moorfields Eye Hospital and Avexis, a Novartis company that focuses on advanced gene therapy - which will commission the Genome Centre to conduct testing, with the objective of identifying the causes and treatments of rare genetic diseases.

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