Abu Dhabi: In a major boost for the UAE’s advanced healthcare segment, Al Jalila Foundation, a major non-profit promoting medical education and research in the country, is partnering with Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU) and the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) to set up the country’s 1st Robotic Biobank in the Emirate of Dubai.
The collaboration is expected to advance medical research in the areas of genetic disorders, cancer and other chronic diseases and pandemics
The biobank which is set to open in 2023 will have a capacity to manage 7 million specimens becoming one of the largest facilities in the world in terms of sample capacity. The biobank will be located at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Medical Research Institute, part of Al Jalila Foundation, in Dubai Healthcare City.
With biobanks playing a critical role in progressing research and advancing medical discovery, the new facility will be indispensable resource for the new Hamdan Bin Rashid Cancer Charity Hospital and other healthcare facilities in the UAE to conduct research and offer effective treatment.
A biobank is a place to store all types of human biological samples, such as blood, tissue, cells, or body fluids.
The facility also stores data related to the samples as well as 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 like genomics and personalized medicine, and the development of diagnostics and therapeutics.
Al Jalila Foundation will make a contribution of $4.63 million to build the facility which will utilize an automated, robotic, AI-based system to manage the human biological material and ensure that they are secured in cryogenic storage (below 80 degree Celsius) maintaining proper sample integrity and retrieval.
The facility will comply to the strictest confidentiality laws and regulations to ensure that no patient data is mishandled or misused. The 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 in order to improve public health.
Sharing his view about the new facility, Professor Alawi Alsheikh-Ali, Deputy Director-General of the Dubai Health Authority remarked that, “The establishment of the robotic biobank is a clear reflection of Dubai’s vision for advancing healthcare and being at the forefront of discovery. I am confident the planned biobank will bring significant value to the healthcare system in Dubai and the region. It is a clear example of how the integration of care with discovery, supported by advancement, can set the foundation for better outcomes for our current and future patients.”
DIVERSE DEMOGRAPHY, DIVERSE DATA
The UAE with its diverse population, with people from varied ethnicities and nationalities, offers a valuable platform for comparative studies on genetic, environmental, nutritional habits and behavioral aspects.
Biobanks can give researchers access to data representing a large number of people. Samples in biobanks and the data derived from those samples can often be used by multiple researchers for cross-purpose research studies.
The UAE’s first robotic biobank will attract strategic collaboration opportunities with key healthcare authorities and partners across the region and globally. The collaborations will support pioneering biomedical research and accelerate medical discoveries to transform patients’ lives.