Sidra Medical and Research Center will open the MENA region’s first reprogrammable cell therapy facility as part of its hospital and research center.

sidra-medical-renderingThe facility will investigate a novel treatment approach, called reprogrammable cell therapy, where cells are altered to treat or cure disease. The facility will act as a resource for the entire region and Sidra will seek to collaborate with local and regional medical institutions. Sidra is currently collaborating with the National Institutes of Health, a US-based medical research center, to plan the site.

Sidra’s Chief Research Officer, Francesco Marincola, said:

We are delighted to be working with the National Institutes for Health to build this cutting edge research facility in Qatar.  The research conducted here will further our understanding of this potentially breakthrough treatment option and, hopefully one day, allow Sidra to offer it to the people of Qatar.’

A delegation, led by David F Stroncek, MD, Chief of the Cell Processing Section at the National Institutes of Health, toured Sidra last week to discuss plans for the facility.

Dr Stroncek said:

The construction of Sidra Medical and Research Center is a major feat in terms of what it will contribute to the international medical and research community. We are delighted that this lab will be part of the Center and that Qatar is investing in advancing this important research.  When built, this will be one of the few labs in the world that is capable of investigating this innovative therapeutic approach.’

Out of the nearly 30 such centers internationally that are capable of carrying out this research, none are based in the MENA region. HH Sheikha Moza bint Nasser in March endorsed the need for such a facility in Qatar to support local and regional research programmes.

In two to three years, when the lab is fully functioning, Sidra hopes that the research conducted in Qatar will pave the way for treating patients with serious and untreatable conditions that are resistant to standard procedures. Research will initially focus on pediatric patients with cancer and inborn immune deficiency disorders, as well as hematological problems.