24 February 2016
RIYADH: King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology (KACST) has spent SR 1.4 billion on health biotechnology research projects under The National Science, Technology and Innovation Plan (NSTIP), said its President Prince Dr. Turki bin Saud bin Mohammed Al-Saud on Tuesday.
The prince's comment came when he opened the Second Saudi International Conference on Biotechnology 2016, organized under the auspices of Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman, at KACST the headquarters in Riyadh.
Research into health biotechnology is vital due to the presence of certain rare conditions in the Kingdom, particularly in the field of genetics, and also in the diagnosis and treatment of both communicable and non-communicable diseases.
The prince said that KACST research projects included more than 700 projects, which represents 40 percent of the budget spent on them. This year's conference is focused on how stem cell technology is changing the way to diagnosing and treating various medical problems and diseases.
The prince pointed out that health is an important part of the social and economic development of any nation.
While Saudi Arabia has a young population at the moment, its older generation is living longer, and diseases such as diabetes are on the increase. It threatens the future well being of the nation's population and these concerns have placed health at the center of economic development discourse in the Kingdom, and high on the priority list for research and development.
The event has brought together experts from around the world to discuss new stem cell technologies, research and development and the best practices, particularly those of relevance to the Kingdom. The two-day conference will focus on stem cell therapy, bioprinting, disease modeling and regulatory challenges facing stem cell technology applications.
The prince said that KACST is working in cooperation with the relevant authorities on the localization of the latest technology transfer to advance scientific research and technological development in the Kingdom. He also said that KACST worked in partnership with a number of universities, research centers and hospitals in the Kingdom, the Saudi Human Genome Project, which aims to analyze genetic data with the aim of identifying genes that cause genetic diseases.
© Arab News 2016