KFSHRC seminar's stress on impact of Precision Medicine

April 09, 2018

Saudi Gazette report

— King Faisal Specialist Hospital and Research Center (KFSH&RC) officially launched the “Precision Medicine Symposium 2018” at King Salman Auditorium, Sunday. Delivery of the benefits associated with Precision Medicine is central to the KFSH&RC contribution to the National Transformation Program and Vision 2030.

Precision Medicine offers a viable answer to the management and prevention of hereditary diseases, cancer and other chronic diseases through more accurate diagnosis, the prediction of drug responses, disease risk, enhanced imaging and identification of more effective treatments. The “KFSHRC Precision Medicine Symposium 2018” aims to increase awareness and understanding in these important areas of clinical care for healthcare professionals and the community at large.

Speakers at the Symposium included leading healthcare professionals, researchers and scientists from world renowned institutions.

International speakers: Nickolaus Papadopoulous, Oncology professor, Johns Hopkins, Baltimore; Stephen Kingsmore, MD, DSc, Rady Childrens Hospital, San Diego; David Crosslin, assistant professor, University of Washington, Seattle; Matthew Lanktree, MD, PhD, McMaster University, Ontario; Konrad Karczewski, postdoctoral fellow, Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston; Brendan Keating, assistant professor, Penn State University, Philadelphia; Claudia Gonzaga-Jauregui, PhD, Regeneron Genome Center, Tarry Town, New York; and Andrey Ptitsyn, University of the Western Cape, MA, US.

Speakers from the Kingdom were: Dr. Khalid Abu Khabar, deputy executive director research center, KFSHRC; Dr. Fowzan Alkuraya, principal clinical scientist and senior consultant, Genetics Department, Research Center, KFSHRC; Dr. Belal Moftah, chairman, Biomedical Physics Department, Research Center, KFSHRC; and Dr. Ibrahim Al Jammaz, chairman, Cyclotron and Radiopharmaceuticals Department, Research Center, KFSHRC.

Commenting on the ground-breaking initiative in the Kingdom, Dr. Khalid Abu Kahbar said: “Precision Medicine is an advanced concept of healthcare based on recent technologies including cell biology, genomics, proteomics, metabolomics and the translation of research to patient care. Precision Medicine identifies preventive and therapeutic courses of treatment and measures, such as changes in lifestyle that can delay or may prevent some diseases. This Program has important patient benefits and may result in substantial economic savings. Today’s symposium is another important milestone in our ongoing medical journey.”

Dr. Brian Meyer, chairman of the Department of Genetics in KFSHRC, also stressed the importance of Precision Medicine in helping patients who are prone or diagnosed with genetic diseases. “An area of particular interest in Saudi Arabia is inherited diseases which have a higher incidence than in other populations. Here genomic technologies facilitate precise diagnosis and more importantly offer opportunities for prevention in future generations through programs such as premarital screening," he said.

As the leading exponent of Precision Medicine in the Middle East and a best practice international medical center facility, KFSH&RC is best placed to be at the forefront of the debate to move toward more advanced patient care.

Diseases with a genetic basis are encountered in all disciplines of medicine. Premarital screening of prospective parents is now a reality, and has the potential to reduce the incidence of genetic disease on a large scale. Cancer Risk prediction and the early detection of cancer are also facilitated by current technologies. Genetic testing can predict the right drug for the right patient at the right time resulting in better outcomes and more cost effective treatments.

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