A member of the Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Global Initiatives, Al Jalila Foundation, announced on Thursday, 28 April, that it would launch the first robotic biobank in the UAE in collaboration with the Dubai Health Authority (DHA) and Mohammed Bin Rashid University of Medicine and Health Sciences (MBRU).
A biobank is an area where all kinds of human biological samples, like tissue, blood, cells and body fluids. It also holds data associated with the samples and other biomolecular resources used during health research.
The partnership will give benefit to medical research in genetic abnormalities, cancer and other severe illnesses and pandemics.
Al Jalila Foundation is funding Dhs17m in constructing the facility and will handle seven million human biological materials. An automated, robotic, as well as the artificial intelligence-based system, will assure biological samples are stored in cryogenic storage (below 80 degrees Celcius), preserving proper sample integrity and retrieval.
The biobank is scheduled to launch in 2023 with space for seven million specimens, and will be one of the largest in the world in terms of sample capacity, said a statement.
The hospital will be located in Dubai Healthcare City at the Mohammed Bin Rashid Medical Research Institute, part of the Al Jalila Foundation.
The chairperson of the Al Jalila Foundation Board of Trustees, Sheikh Ahmed bin Saeed Al Maktoum, said, “Access to genetic and imaging data via biobanks is pushing forward pioneering approaches to analysis that would have been unimaginable just a few years ago. The biobank will act as a major contributor to the improvement of modern medicine and promote scientific discoveries that will help improve the health and wellbeing of the community.”
The chairperson of the Al Jalila Foundation Board of Directors and member of the Board of Trustees, Dr Raja Easa Al Gurg, “The biobank will let people in the community and researchers to work together to build a better, healthier future for generations to come. Scientific progress will shape the country’s economy by impacting our knowledge about human health, disease, therapeutics, personalised medicine, etc.”