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Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 22 June 2018

UAE Human Genome Project director hopes DNA profiling will be at centre of clinical care

The Ministry of Health and Prevention’s UAE Human Genome Project can identify an individual’s genetic fingerprint, so tailor-made treatment can be prescribed for patients.

DUBAI // Genetic engineering is at the heart of the Ministry of Health and Prevention plans to combat the spread of non-communicable diseases in the country.

The latest innovations in DNA profiling, gene sequencing and other scientific breakthroughs in the field have been widely discussed at Arab Health Congress this week.

The ministry’s UAE Human Genome Project can identify an individual’s genetic fingerprint, so tailor-made treatment can be prescribed for patients.

It is hoped the latest developments will help reduce obesity, diabetes, blood pressure, cancer and asthma by identifying those who are more at risk from genetic factors and prescribe early treatment plans.

DNA profiling will be at the centre of effective clinical care in future, according to Dr Youssif Al Serkal, who is chairman of the national committee of the UAE Human Genome Project.

“In essence, the government strives to create a genome database and reference dictionary for all genetic diseases in the UAE,” he said.

“The world is entering a new era of genetic medicine in which DNA profiling and genome sequencing will be used as an important tool for clinical care.

“As a healthcare tool, both will become the basis of diagnosis for genetic and non-communicable diseases to come up with better therapeutic solutions. The strategy is seen to significantly impact the UAE’s health policy.”

In a study on molecular genetics in Dubai, covering common diseases prevalent in the UAE, scientists have found ways to accurately diagnose illnesses so appropriate treatment that can reduce mortality rates can be administered.

The experts examined 56 types of cancer-causing genes to provide early and appropriate treatment, giving patients the best chance of recovery.

“Through this project, we seek to reduce the patient’s suffering, improve the standard of healthcare delivery in the country and raise the country’s score on the Global Competitiveness Index,” Dr Al Serkal added.

nwebster@thenational.ae