Qatar Biobank, a member of Qatar Foundation (QF), recently marked a major milestone with the screening of its 15,000th participant, as part of its medical health research initiative to improve the health of the local population through personalised medicine.
Through providing biological samples and information, volunteer participants help Qatar Biobank enable medical researchers and healthcare professionals to form a clearer picture of the prevalent health-related issues in Qatar and the region.
Dr Asmaa al-Thani, chairperson of the Qatar Genome Programme (QGP) Committee and board vice-chairperson of Qatar Biobank, said: “We are delighted to celebrate the screening of our 15,000th participant – a milestone that represents the local population’s eagerness to contribute to their improved health. Qatar Biobank is an important initiative that will play a pivotal role in contributing to a healthier local population for generations to come.”
Researchers at QGP, another member of QF, are already using Qatar Biobank’s samples to gain important insights into the health of the local population, including the prevalence of diabetes, obesity, and vitamin D deficiency.
Dr Nahla Maher Afifi, education and scientific manager and acting director of Qatar Biobank, said: “Qatar Biobank serves as a large-scale biomedical research initiative that is based on population in the Arab world, thus ensuring far more accurate and effective targeted medical treatments. We encourage the people of Qatar who are eligible and have not yet been screened to participate in this vital initiative – the success of which is dependent on large-scale participation by the local population, particularly Qatari youth.”
A regular visit to the Qatar Biobank includes standard medical tests such as blood pressure and lung function. However, the tests carried out also include new screenings that are not included in other large-scale biobanks, including advanced imaging techniques to measure whole-body composition and the health of carotid arteries, and a treadmill test to measure physical fitness.
Qatar Biobank welcomes Qataris over the age of 18 and adult expatriates who have lived in Qatar for at least 15 years to take part in this pioneering medical research endeavour.
All participants receive feedback in approximately two weeks after their initial visit, however, Qatar Biobank immediately notifies participants who are found to have serious or life-threatening conditions.