Qatar Biobank: A Treasure Trove of Information to Advance Medical Research
List of achievements include region’s first mother-child cohort study
Nothing is more important to any nation than the health of its people. A country which has a populace showing positive signs of well-being will always thrive socially and economically. This undeniable fact led to the creation of Qatar Biobank in 2012, the largest population-based health initiative ever undertaken in Qatar.
Parallel to the many developments in the healthcare sector, Qatar Biobank – a member of Qatar Foundation (QF) – is aiding the nation’s contribution to enriching biomedical knowledge all around the world, helping the country in its journey towards becoming a regional hub for medical research and expertise. Thanks to Qatar Biobank’s efforts, scientists now have access to a treasure trove of information collected from Qatar’s population over the past few years to help advance their medical research.
Qatar Biobank’s research access office has so far enabled 193 research projects, with participation of hundreds of researchers from across 22 different institutions in Qatar’s healthcare sector. Qatar University leads on the research front, having undertaken 61 projects, followed by Sidra Medicine – also a member of QF, with 31; Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar – a QF partner university – with 29; and Hamad Medical Corporation with 22 ongoing research projects.
Qatar Biobank’s research over recent years already revealed fascinating insights into the health of the Qatari population. The Qatar Birth Cohort Study (QBiC), the first mother-child cohort study of its kind in the Middle East, which assesses the role of environmental exposure and genetic factors in the development of chronic diseases, is yet another example of how participation in Qatar Biobank’s research programme can create more knowledge about the population and the factors that affect an individual’s life at the onset.
As Qatar embarks on a period vital to its long-term healthcare for citizens – with the National Healthcare Strategy 2018-2022 coming into full effect – it is the opportune time to reflect on Qatar Biobank’s extraordinarily significant work and the importance of participating in the programme, which more than 25,000 Qatari residents have already chosen to join.
According to Dr Asmaa Al Thani, Chairperson of the Qatar Genome Program Committee and Board Vice-Chairperson of Qatar Biobank, the success of Qatar Biobank is dependent on the participation of the local population, especially Qataris, and recruiting more than 25,000 participants is a clear indication of the importance that people place on their health now and in the future.
We are proud of our achievements so far as we have effectively empowered Qatar’s medical research ecosystem through our sustained partnership scheme with leading healthcare institutions in the country and providing qualified researchers with the right data to enrich their investigations.’
Homegrown researchers in the field of biomedical science have become central to achieving impactful medical research in the long-term. To that end, Qatar Biobank’s experts and scientists have started to aid the development of fresh knowledge in biobanking and medical research. In 2019, its experts published their research output in 11 renowned, high-impact local and international publications.
For more information about Qatar Biobank, visit qatarbiobank.org.qa/home.