Medical research in the areas of genetic disorders, cancer, and other chronic diseases and pandemics will benefit from the collaboration.
The biobank, which is expected to open in 2023 and have a capacity of seven million specimens, will be one of the world’s largest in terms of sample capacity.
The facility will be located in Dubai Healthcare City, at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Medical Research Institute, which is part of the Al Jalila Foundation.
“Access to genetic and imaging data through biobanks is driving forward pioneering approaches to analysis that would have been impossible just a few years ago,” said HH Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, chairperson of the Al Jalila Foundation Board of Trustees.
“Dubai’s commitment to strengthening the healthcare sector’s capabilities and advancing efforts to improve people’s health is reflected in the launch of the UAE’s first robotic biobank.” The biobank will make a significant contribution to the advancement of modern medicine by enabling scientific discoveries that will benefit the community’s health and well-being.”
The biobank will become an indispensable resource for the new Hamdan Bin Rashid Cancer Charity Hospital and other healthcare facilities in the UAE to conduct research and provide effective treatment due to the critical role biobanks play in advancing research and medical discovery.
A biobank is a collection of human biological samples such as blood, tissue, cells, and bodily fluids. It also keeps track of sample-related information as well as other biomolecular resources that can be used in health research.
Biobanks have become a valuable resource in medical research, assisting in the development of diagnostics and therapeutics, as well as many other types of modern research such as genomics and personalised medicine.
“Biobanking is a game-changer for healthcare and will revolutionise medical research, leading to better outcomes for patient treatment,” said Dr Raja Easa Al Gurg, chairperson of the Al Jalila Foundation Board of Directors and member of the Board of Trustees.
“The biobank will allow community members and researchers to collaborate in order to create a better, healthier future for future generations.” By influencing our knowledge of human health, disease, therapeutics, personalised medicine, and more, scientific progress will shape the nation’s economy.”
The Al Jalila Foundation is spending $4.6 million to construct a cutting-edge facility that will house seven million human biological materials. Biological samples will be stored in cryogenic storage (below 80 degrees Celsius) using an automated, robotic, Artificial Intelligence-based system, ensuring sample integrity and retrieval.
“Biorepositories are places where you can store patient samples and really serve as a hub of collaboration between scientists for doing either population health studies, or looking at cohorts of patients who have specific diseases, and trying to find better therapeutics and diagnostics to treat patients and save lives,” said Dr Abdulkareem Sultan Al Olama, CEO of Al Jalila Foundation.
In accordance with UAE laws and regulations, patient confidentiality will be a top priority. Scientists will use the biological and medical data to conduct research into common and life-threatening diseases such as cancer, heart disease, and stroke in order to improve public health.
“The establishment of the robotic biobank is a clear reflection of Dubai’s vision for advancing healthcare and being at the forefront of discovery,” said Professor Alawi Alsheikh-Ali, deputy director-general of the Dubai Health Authority.
“I am confident that the proposed biobank will add significant value to Dubai’s and the region’s healthcare systems.” It’s a great example of how combining care with discovery and advancing technology can pave the way for better outcomes for our patients.
The UAE’s diverse population, which includes people of various ethnicities and nationalities, will serve as a useful platform for comparative studies on genetic, environmental, nutritional, and behavioural factors.
Researchers can use biobanks to gain access to data from 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 Al Jalila 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.
It will follow best biobanking practises and adhere to the most stringent compliance regulations and ethical standards when collecting, processing, storing, and analysing biological samples and data for research into genetic and environmental factors that influence human health and disease.