Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) in partnership with the US-based Duke University has announced the development of a Hamad-Duke Center for Personalized and Precision Medicine that will support HMC’s efforts as the main healthcare provider in Qatar.
The center, which is part of Qatar’s Academic Health System (AHS), will provide evidence-based care grounded in world-class research.
As a precursor to this joint initiative, HMC and Duke University, with whom HMC has an established research-focused relationship, hosted the first Personalized and Precision Medicine Symposium attended by senior officials from HMC, local AHS partners, AHS International Advisory Board, and other key stakeholders.
“Personalized and precision medicine has the potential to truly transform the way we prevent, diagnose and treat illness by allowing us to tailor our strategies to the individual patient,” said Mr. Gary Needle, Chief of Planning and Performance at HMC, who delivered the welcome address at the symposium on behalf of Hanan Al Kuwari PhD, Managing Director of HMC.
Personalized medicine enables healthcare providers to approach patient care according to the unique genetic characteristics of each individual patient, allowing for more accurate diagnosis and optimized treatment and care.
Professor Edward Hillhouse, Chief of Scientific, Faculty and Academic Affairs at HMC spoke on the AHS vision to make personalized medicine an essential component of the healthcare delivery system in Qatar. He explained that HMC and its AHS partners are investing in various healthcare and research facilities across Qatar and the new developments will support the initiative.
“Personalized medicine can help to give us the tools to deal with pressing local health issues such as diabetes, cardiovascular disease and other lifestyle diseases,” Prof. Hillhouse said, adding that in addition to optimizing care for each individual patient, personalized medicine will also help in detecting disease susceptibility within a population and customizing disease prevention strategies.
Dr. Ibrahim Janahi, Executive Director of Research at HMC outlined HMC’s strategic plans for research and how these will support the implementation of personalized medicine in Qatar.
“HMC strives to lead in research both nationally and internationally. As the main provider of healthcare in Qatar, we have the responsibility to make people aware of the importance of research and its application in improving treatments,” he said, detailing efforts to support local researchers such as HMC’s internal research grant program and the Interim Translational Research Institute.
“We’re very excited about the field of personalized medicine coming to maturity, and HMC will be a great partner in this endeavor. We believe that personalized medicine will increase the efficiency with which healthcare is delivered, optimize efficacy and safety for patients, improve overall population health, and hopefully even reduce cost,” said Dr. Geoffrey Ginsburg, Director for Genomic Medicine at Duke Institute for Genome Sciences and Policy, and Executive Director of Duke University Health System’s Center for Personalized Medicine.
The symposium is the first in a series of events being held in Qatar which will contribute to the success of the National Qatar Genome Strategy Project.
The National Qatar Genome Committee, chaired by Dr. Asmaa Al-Thani, Head of Qatar University’s Health Sciences Department and Board Vice-Chairperson and Consultant for Qatar BioBank, also held a two-day scientific workshop, bringing world-renowned experts together in Doha.
Qatar’s Academic Health System is the world’s first nationwide health solution of its type and incorporates a dynamic network integrating research, education and clinical care to focus on improving patient care and delivering innovative healthcare. Its eight members working collaboratively include HMC, Weill Cornell Medical College-Qatar, Sidra Medical and Research Center, Qatar Biomedical Research Institute, College of the North Atlantic-Qatar, the Primary Health Care Corporation, Qatar University and University of Calgary-Qatar.