(MENAFN - The Peninsula) By Fazeena Saleem | The Peninsula
Doha: Future impact of biobanking on Qatar's health care takes centre stage at International Biobanking Conference 2019, which begun in the presence of Minister of Public Health H E Dr Hanan Mohamed Al Kuwari, yesterday.
The three-day event, held under the theme ‘Quality Matters: A Global Discussion in Qatar,' aims to highlight the role of biobanking and medical research in advancing health care and improving clinical outcomes.
Organised by Qatar Biobank, a member of Qatar Foundation (QF) and part of Qatar Foundation for Research, Development, and Innovation (QF RDI), the conference has brought together scientists and health experts from 15 countries.
'Biomedical research is accelerating the transformation of health care from generalised treatments to preventive, pre-emptive, and personalised medicine. In this domain, QF RDI has been active through impactful initiatives spearheaded by Qatar Biobank and Qatar Genome Programme, said Dr Richard O'Kennedy, Vice-President for Research, Development, and Innovation at QF in his opening remarks.
'As a crucial first step in the approach to precision medicine, the value of biobanking and genomics research, and their key role in improving the health and wellbeing of Qatar's population, cannot be overstated. It is through events like the International Biobanking Conference that our scientists and researchers have the right platform to engage in the exchange of knowledge, conduct in-depth discussions with global experts on new developments and innovations; and forge networks and meaningful collaborations that could support the development of Qatar's precision medicine initiative, he added.
Delegates will discuss a variety of topics and attend wide-ranging sessions and presentations focused on the role of biobanks in healthcare, the importance of population biobanks and the use of big data and artificial intelligence in medical research.
'We take firm steps every day as we get closer to achieving personalised medicine for the people of Qatar, which will prove vital in the treatment and prevention of diseases. The support we are receiving for our research programs from our stakeholders, scientists, and the residents of Qatar is one of the driving factors in our success story, said Dr Asmaa Al Thani, Board Vice Chairperson of Qatar Biobank and Chairperson of Qatar Genome Programme Committee.
In his keynote address, Dr Jim Vaught, Chief of the Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research Branch at the US National Cancer Institute, and Editor-in-Chief of Biopreservation and Biobanking, the official journal of ISBER, highlighted the importance of quality management for international biobanking collaborations.
The conference is being hosted in partnership with the European and Middle Eastern Society for Biopreservation and Biobanking (ESBB), and supported by BBMRI-ERIC, a European research infrastructure for biobanking, and the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER).
Qatar Biobank is a large-scale medical research initiative in the country, which collects data and biological samples from the local population in an effort to develop customized medical solutions to the various diseases and health issues prevalent here.