UAE ranks 3rd in the Arab World in diseases related to genetic disorders
50% of global child deaths are genetic related
Al Jalila Children’s has announced its plans to provide genomic testing and counselling in the second quarter of 2019. The Genomics Centre at Al Jalila Children’s will be an ultramodern facility that consists of a state-of-the-art diagnostics laboratory along with a fully equipped clinic with a genetic counselling core to support patients and families.
The genomics laboratory at Al Jalila Children’s will offer a comprehensive genomic testing menu, matching that of top children’s hospitals, to search for answers that might explain a wide range of clinical indications in children, and guide personalised treatments. This laboratory will be accredited by the College of American Pathologists (CAP), and will utilize highly advanced molecular technologies, bioinformatics pipelines, and interpretation workflows consistent with guidelines by the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ACMGG). In addition, the Al Jalila Children’s Genomics Centre consists of a genetic counselling core, the first in the UAE, to educate clinicians and families about genetic testing including ordering, result interpretation, risk assessment, and family planning. Our genetic counsellors will also facilitate appropriate utilisation and dissemination of genomics by supporting several speciality clinics at Al Jalila Children’s.
Dr. Abdulla Al Khayat, CEO of Al Jalila Children’s said: “since its inception in November 2016, Al Jalila Children’s has set its course on raising the bar of paediatric medicine innovation and excellence in the region. Our genomics centre will be one of the corner stones of this ambitious strategy, especially with the highly sophisticated equipment and the calibre of experienced doctors that will be running the centre. Furthermore, this step will surely assist in reducing the expenses paid by various parties within UAE in sending samples and patients for testing outside the country. By providing the same services here, we will be contributing to saving time and resources.”
Dr. Mohamed Al Awadhi, COO at Al Jalila Children’s, explained more: “ UAE is known to have a very high prevalence of genetic diseases in the world, it ranks third in the Arab World with over 350 registered disorders accounting for a substantial proportion of physical and mental disabilities in the country. Currently, there are few comprehensive genomic facilities available in the country, but not sufficient to fill this huge gap in demand.”
“Understanding an immediate need for a more multifaceted facility, Al Jalila Children’s will soon have a full-fledged genomic medicine facility where a multidisciplinary team of clinical geneticists, counsellors and laboratory scientists will work together to give patients access to the first comprehensive genomic healthcare service in the country. Team members feature world-class board-certified clinical molecular geneticists, genetic counsellors, bioinformaticians, genomic analysts, and molecular specialists,” Dr. Al Awadhi added.
Managing the Centre are a group of world-class experienced physicians, headed by Dr. Mahmo ud Taleb Al Ali and Dr. Ahmad Abou Tayoun. Dr. Al Ali is the Executive Lead – Pathology & Genomics at Al Jalila Children’s. In his capacity as Consultant Geneticist from 2000 until 2014, Dr. Al Ali was the Director of the Genetics Centre, the Director of Dubai Cord Blood & Research Center, and the Assistant Director of Pathology and Genetics Services at the Dubai Health Authority, Government of Dubai.
Dr. Abou Tayoun, Director of the Genomics Laboratory at Al Jalila Children’s, completed his doctoral studies (PhD) at Dartmouth College in the USA followed by a fellowship in molecular diagnostics at Dartmouth Medical School. In 2013, he joined Harvard Medical School where he completed his clinical molecular genetics fellowship and, in 2015, became board-certified by the American Board of Medical Genetics and Genomics (ABMGG). Dr. Abou Tayoun is a fellow of the American College of Medical Genetics and Genomics. Prior to joining Al Jalila Children’s, Dr. Abou Tayoun was a director in the Division of Genomic Diagnostics at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.