Dubai: A team of researchers at Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU) and clinicians from Dubai Diabetes Center, Dubai Hospital, and Kings College Hospital Dubai have received almost AED 1 million from Sandooq Al Watan, as a research grant to pursue precision medicine research for Type 2 diabetes.

Over the next three years, Dr. Riad Bayoumi, Professor of Basic Sciences at MBRU, and his team of five researchers at MBRU will work alongside the clinicians to investigate and classify subtypes of Type 2 diabetes. They hypothesize that if distinct subtypes of Type 2 diabetes are identified, then clinicians can identify characteristics of the disease leading to treatment strategies that are specific to an individual patient. Funding by Sandooq Al Watan, which is a private UAE philanthropic organization with a significant endowment to invest and support innovative researchers and organizations, will allow the team to research, develop, and deploy precision medicine for type 2 diabetes patients in the UAE. Precision medicine is based on the concept of providing the right therapy for the right patient at the right time. This medical model proposes to customize the diagnosis, treatment, and aftercare of an individual rather than deploying a one‐drug‐fits‐all model. In similar studies, precision medicine has resulted in significant improvements to the diagnosis and management of cancer patients.

“In the Middle East, 11% of adults suffer from Type 2 diabetes, in the UAE, almost one in every five adults is affected,” commented Professor Riad Bayoumi. Over the past few years, the SALAMA Hospital Information System of the Dubai Academic Health Corporation has registered data from thirty-thousand type 2 diabetic patients, Emiratis and expatriates, in the UAE. Using this database, researchers have applied an artificial intelligence system to identify patterns in certain pathophysiological traits to create subtypes of the disease. The study will attempt to identify these subtypes of Type 2 diabetes using data-driven methods and machine-learning algorithms in a cohort of patients with extensive clinical and genomic variables. “This will bring us closer to precision medicine in diabetes, where a patient will receive the right treatment that fits his condition,” added Professor Bayoumi.

Yasser Al Garagawi, Director General of Sandooq Al Watan, noted that "the decision of the Board of Directors of Sandooq Al Watan chaired by His Excellency Sheikh Nahyan bin Mubarak Al Nahyan to provide this grant to MBRU stems from the Sandooq Al Watan's appreciation for the great efforts undertaken by the University in the field of applied scientific research, which strengthens the UAE's position in this field."

 "Sandooq Al Watan is keen to support the UAE's researchers in all fields to enhance creativity and innovation. We wish the researchers the best in taking this potentially life-changing research forward." He added.

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