Saudi Arabia Ushers In “Era Of Personalised Medicine”

Riyadh – Saudi Arabia has launched an ambitious genome project which will involve the sequencing of 100 000 human genomes over the next five years to study both normal genes and those linked to disease.

Saudi Arabia’s national funding agency, King Abdulaziz City for Science and Technology in partnership with biotechnology company Life Technologies Corporation launched the national research project to study the genetic basis of all disease in the Kingdom and throughout the Middle East.

The findings will provide the basis for the development of personalised medicine in the future and is an effort to identify the disease-causing genes for the population of the kingdom. Personalised medicine allows for medical decisions, practices and products to be custom made for the individual patient, based on an increased understanding of human genetics.

“The Saudi Human Genome Program will position the Kingdom at the forefront of personalized medicine and will empower our citizens to help them make informed decisions for their health plans,” said Prince Dr. Turki bin Saud Al Saud, KACST Vice President for Research Institutes.

“It’s hoped other global academic institutions will use the impressive facilities KACST is launching in the near future” he added.

The research will take place at 10 genome centres across Saudi Arabia, with five more set to be created in the future.

The findings will lessen the economic and emotional burden of rare birth defects by enabling clinicians to offer premarital and prenatal screening for rare diseases. The research will also enable worldwide population studies to understand and compare population-specific influences leading to common and rare mutations.

“KACST is committed to the development of R&D programs of excellence in all scientific disciplines,” said Dr. Mohammed Bin Ibrahim Al Suwayl, President of KACST.

“We have clear strategy and policy of the importance of science to a knowledge-based society and we believe the Saudi Human Genome Program will help shape the understanding of health and disease and usher in an era of personalized medicine in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and we are grateful for the investment and vision of the Saudi leadership.”

Image Source: PR Newswire

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