Qatar Diabetes Association (QDA), member of Qatar Foundation, together with Qatar Biomedical Research Institute (QBRI), part of Hamad Bin Khalifa University (HBKU) organized a lecture for parents of children with type 1 diabetes. The lecture also provided the wider community with an in-depth overview of stem cell research.
The lecture was led by QBRI scientists, Dr. Mohamed Emara, who touched on the subject of stem cell research; and Dr. Essam Abdelalim, who discussed diabetes, stem cell therapy, and the global research being conducted to improve the prevention and treatment of the disease.
Dr. Omar El-Agnaf, executive director at QBRI, said: “Our Diabetes Research Center is fully committed to pursuing novel approaches to tackling the prevalence of diabetes, and especially in light of global forecasts indicating an increase in the number of afflicted patients. QDA is a longstanding partner and we share the objective of securing a healthier future for Qatar by raising awareness and enabling the wider community to seek out advice from established experts in the field, as well as showcase QBRI’s advanced knowledge and research efforts in this field.”
Members of the audience, including parents of children with type 1 diabetes, were given an opportunity to raise questions to the scientists pertaining to the disease and the latest developments in the fields of stem cell research and potential treatment for their family members living with the illness.
Dr. Abdulla Al Hamaq, executive director, QDA, said: “QDA is committed to running diabetes awareness programs to promote a greater understanding of diabetes, increase prevention, and improve care. We are pleased to collaborate with QBRI in organizing this important lecture, which offered the parents an opportunity to gain a clearer understanding of the valuable research led by QBRI. “
“In addition, we are so pleased that parents of children living with diabetes responded to the abundant and valuable scientific information, which confirms that there is important and promising research underway at QBRI. We are eagerly keeping an eye on the work of QBRI scientists and their efforts to produce pancreatic cells that secrete insulin in laboratories in efficient and large quantities for future use, to replace infected pancreatic cells,” he explained.
Dr. Essam M. Abdelalim, scientist at QBRI, said: “The ultimate goal of our stem cell research at QBRI is to pave the way for developing novel therapeutic strategies for diabetes treatment. Our current stem cell projects aim to achieve two main goals: (1) understanding genetic factors underlying the development of diabetes using induced pluripotent stem cell technology and (2) generation of functional insulin-secreting beta cells for cell therapy.“
Dr. Mohamed Emara, scientist at QBRI, said: “Using stem cells as a therapeutic tool to treat different diseases is very promising. Currently, there are several clinical trials taking place around the world to test the cure with such new technology. Patients with diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and other chronic diseases have to know that there is still hope for a complete cure. Stem cell therapy is at the forefront of our efforts and we are looking to conduct research that resonates locally, regionally and globally.”
QBRI is home to three research centers – Cancer Research Center, Diabetes Research Center, and the Neurological Disorders Research Center. The Diabetes Research Center serves as a catalyst to promote innovative research on both type 1 and type 2 diabetes and related metabolic disorders, with the aim of gaining fundamental knowledge to enhance the understanding of social, molecular, and genetic causes of the disease.