Emirates News Agency – Dubai to open UAE’s first robotic biobank in 2023

DUBAI, 28th April, 2022 (WAM) — The Al Jalila Foundation, a member of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, has announced that it will establish the first robotic biobank in the United Arab Emirates, in partnership with the University of Medicine and Health Mohammed Bin Rashid Sciences (MBRU) and the Dubai Health Authority (DHA). This collaboration aims to advance medical research in the areas of genetic disorders, cancer and other chronic diseases and pandemics.

Scheduled to open in 2023 with a management capacity of seven million specimens, the biobank will be one of the largest in the world in terms of sampling capacity. The facility will be located at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Institute of Medical Research, part of the Al Jalila Foundation, in Dubai Healthcare City.

His Highness Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, Chairman of the Board of the Al Jalila Foundation, said: “Access to genetic and imaging data through biobanks advances pioneering approaches to analysis that would have been impossible just a few years ago. The UAE’s first robotic biobank reflects Dubai’s commitment to building capacity in the health sector and advancing efforts to improve people’s health. The biobank will make a major contribution to the advancement of modern medicine and enable scientific discoveries that will help improve the health and well-being of the community.”

Due to the vital role that biobanks play in advancing medical research and discovery, the biobank will become an indispensable resource for the new Hamdan Bin Rashid Cancer Charity Hospital and other healthcare institutions in the United Arab Emirates to conduct research and provide effective treatment.

A biobank is a place to store all types of human biological samples, such as blood, tissues, cells, or bodily fluids. It also stores sample data and other biomolecular resources that can be used in health research. Biobanks have become an important resource in medical research, supporting many types of contemporary research such as genomics and personalized medicine, and the development of diagnostics and therapeutics.

Dr. Raja Easa Al Gurg, Chairman of the Board of Al Jalila Foundation and Member of the Board, said: “The biobank is a game-changer for healthcare and will revolutionize medical research, leading to new better results for the treatment of patients. The biobank will provide community members and researchers with the opportunity to work together to build a better and healthier future for generations to come. Scientific progress will shape the national economy by influencing our knowledge of human health, disease, therapeutics, personalized medicine, etc. .”

The Al Jalila Foundation is investing AED17 million to build a state-of-the-art facility and will manage seven million human biological materials. An automated, robotic and artificial intelligence-based system will ensure biological samples are secured in cryogenic storage (below 80 degrees Celsius) maintaining proper sample integrity and retrieval.

Dr. Abdulkareem Sultan Al Olama, CEO of the Al Jalila Foundation, said: “Biodeposits are places where you can store patient samples and really serve as a center for collaboration between scientists to carry out studies on the health of the patient. population or looking at cohorts of patients who have specific diseases and trying to find better treatments and diagnostics to treat patients and save lives. »

Patient privacy will be a priority in accordance with UAE laws and regulations. Biological and medical data will be used by scientists for research to make new discoveries about common and life-threatening diseases such as cancer, heart disease and stroke to improve public health.

Professor Alawi Alsheikh-Ali, Deputy Chief Executive of the Dubai Health Authority, said: “The establishment of the robotic biobank clearly reflects Dubai’s vision to advance healthcare and be at the forefront of discovery. I am confident that the planned biobank will bring significant value to the health system in Dubai and the region. This is a clear example of how the integration of discovery care, supported by advancement, can lay the foundation for better outcomes for our current and future patients.

The diverse population of the UAE, with people of various ethnicities and nationalities, will provide a valuable platform for comparative studies on genetic, environmental, nutritional and behavioral aspects. Biobanks can give researchers access to data representing large numbers of people. Samples in biobanks and data derived from these samples can often be used by multiple researchers for multipurpose research studies.

The UAE’s first robotic biobank will attract opportunities for strategic collaboration with key health authorities and partners in the region and globally. The collaborations will support pioneering biomedical research and accelerate medical discoveries to transform the lives of patients.

It will operate under biobanking best practices and adhere to compliance regulations and the highest ethical standards for the collection, processing, storage and analysis of biological samples and data for research on genetic factors. and environmental factors that impact human health and disease.

For more information on the Al Jalila Foundation, please visit www.aljalilafoundation.ae.

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