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QIMR Berghofer and Dubai Health Authority join forces for cancer research and treatment

QIMR Berghofer Medical Research Institute and the Dubai Health Authority have joined forces in a historic agreement to help secure the future of cancer research and treatment in Dubai.

A Memorandum of Understanding was signed at a meeting between the two parties in Dubai yesterday, in the presence of Deputy Premier, Treasurer and Minister for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Partnerships, Jackie Trad.

QIMR Berghofer’s Director and CEO, Professor Frank Gannon, said the international partnership with the Dubai Government would establish strong and collaborative research and training links in cancer diagnosis and treatment, and in time could be extended to other diseases relevant to Dubai.

He said the partnership would focus on clinical research and translation and on participating in developing a world-leading healthcare system using precision medicine techniques developed by QIMR Berghofer.

“Our researchers have been able to develop genome-based diagnostic approaches that have the potential to revolutionise the diagnosis, treatment and management of cancer,” Professor Gannon said.

“This has been recognised internationally and, in this particular case, by the Dubai Health Authority.”

Professor Gannon said that under the agreement, the two parties would work together using new technologies, such as the integrated Cancer Recurrence Score (iCRS) test developed by the head of QIMR Berghofer’s Personalised Medicine Team, Associate Professor Fares Al-Ejeh.

He said the iCRS was a new test that calculated a risk score of cancer progression for patients to help inform decisions on treatment pathways.

“The partnership between QIMR Berghofer and the Dubai Health Authority to accelerate precision medicine technologies designed by our scientists, will see them fully integrated into the Dubai health system,” Professor Gannon said.

“This agreement is incredibly valuable and provides unique opportunities for our researchers.

“By working together, we will progress this field of genomics and precision medicine more quickly and vastly improve the treatments currently available for devastating diseases like cancer.”

Queensland’s Deputy Premier Jackie Trad said it was a significant partnership, which demonstrated the world-class standard of research happening in the state.

“The agreement will see the creation of a framework for remarkable opportunities to be explored and developed by both parties,” Ms Trad said.

“It really is incredible to see a Queensland institute taking the lead here in Dubai when it comes to building stronger health systems that will support the lives and health of many people.”

Dubai Health Authority Director General, His Excellency Humaid Al Qatami, said the MOU was an important step, especially as it documented DHA’s relationship with one of the world’s leading research institutes, which would in turn support the authority’s drive to achieve a qualitative shift in medical research, clinical medicine and diagnostics, as well as professional development programs, training and medical education.

The MoU, he added, would also aid in transferring knowledge and exchanging experiences between the two parties.

QIMR Berghofer’s Associate Professor Al-Ejeh, who secured the relationship with the Dubai Health Authority, said the agreement was an exciting first step.

“The centralised healthcare system in Dubai provides a unique opportunity to implement our precision medicine technologies rapidly to benefit patients, while ensuring maximum engagement from clinicians who are on the ground,” he said.

The MOU will remain current for three years, during which time more specific actions will be agreed upon.