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Arab Genomic Studies
Key medical meeting begins in Dubai
15 Dec 2004

Health Minister Hamad Abdul Rahman Al Midfa yesterday opened the Third Dubai International Conference for Medical Sciences.

Being held under the patronage of Shaikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Deputy Ruler of Dubai and UAE Minister of Finance and Industry, at the Bustan Rotana Hotel, Dubai, the three-day event will review the latest developments in the field of nephrology, emerging infections, non-invasive surgery and gastrointestinal disorders.

Delivering the opening speech on behalf of the conference patron, the minister said: “The previous day, we honoured a group of eminent scientists and institutions of excellence in appreciation of their efforts in the medical field. This appreciation reflects our interest and concern to develop medical sciences in order to face the challenges of disease diagnosis and management.”

Midfa said that the conference is a great opportunity for the scientists to meet, communicate and exchange experiences and knowledge.

“As we encourage holding such conferences, we hope that our esteemed scientists will keep up their endeavours in these vital fields to help all humanity enjoy a healthy life free from suffering,” Al Midfa said.

Dr Yousef Abdul Razzaq, Chairman of the Scientific Committee of the Conference, said that the Shaikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences has come a long way since its establishment in 2000. The achievements would not have been there if it had not been for the generosity of Shaikh Hamdan who always encouraged and supported scientific research and innovations in medicine and the development of health care in the UAE.

He pointed out that Shaikh Hamdan took the initiative to establish the Centre for Arab Genomic Studies, with the aim to meet the financial, technical, manpower and infrastructural needs of the whole Arab world in this vital research field. He said that bioscience research at UAE University with the support of Shaikh Hamdan has expanded knowledge of fundemental life processes, knowledge used to understand the basis of disease, to develop new approaches to diagnosis, treatment and prevention of disease.

“The conference has two major aims: one, to present the most recent developments in the fields of nephrology, emerging infections, non-invasive surgery and gastrointestinal disorders; two, to provide a forum for scientists in this country to present their research to an international audience.

“The conference has attracted an increasing number of delegates over the past four years, many from countries in the region. Delegates are given the opportunity to keep abreast of emerging issues across the globe, with leading international specialists sharing their experience and opinions on the latest development in their field,” Dr Abdul Razzaq said.

Dr Mahmoud Taleb Al Ali, Director of the Centre for Arab Genomic Studies (CAGS), said in his speech that withing a very short time from the centre’s establishment the CAGS has identified 215 different genetic disorders in the UAE, 178 of which were researched from local and international published literature and 37 were identified from hospital records and were previously unreported.

“Previously only 16 types of genetic diseases were identified in the UAE, due to CAGS’ efforts that number has increased to 215 in the UAE and 894 in the Arab world. We are confident that the figure for the Arab world will change once we extend our project to the other Arab countries,” Dr Taleb said.