Winners of Hamdan Awards for Medical Sciences to address gastroenterology

DUBAI, — The Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences announced that the winners of the Grand Hamdan International Award and the Hamdan International Award for Medical Research Excellence will be among 14 speakers at the 9th Dubai International Conference for Medical Sciences (9DICMS), who are from the United Kingdom, Ireland, France, Australia and the United States of America.

Abdullah bin Souqat, a member of the Board of Trustees of Hamdan Medical Award, said that the main topic of the 9DICMS which will be held in Dubai from 14th to 16th December, is Gastroenterology with a focus on the Colon, and Liver Disorders and Pancreatic Disease.

“14 lectures and 12 workshops will be presented and attended by approximately 500 doctors and specialists, who will receive 18 CME hours accredited by the United Arab Emirates University”, he said.

“DICMS is held once every two years in conjunction with the award ceremony. It is an important scientific platform through which doctors and researchers all over the region are able to communicate directly with senior researchers and scientists whose significant research have resulted into major impacts on healthcare sectors all over the world, especially in the preventive and therapeutic domains”, Abdullah bin Souqat said.

Prof. Hassib Narchi, Professor of Pediatrics and Consultant Pediatrician Department of Pediatrics, College of Medicine and Health Sciences, United Arab Emirates University, Al Ain, and the Chairman of the Scientific Committee of the 9DICMS, said: “Among the top speakers at the conference, is the winner of the Grand Hamdan International Award on Gastroenterology; Professor Harvey J Alter, NIH Distinguished Investigator, Transfusion Medicine Department, NIH Clinical Center, USA”.

“Through his lecture entitled “Hepatitis C Virus: from Hippocrates to Cure”, Professor Alter will discuss the recent development of direct-acting anti-virals which can now cure greater than 90 percent of HCV carriers, compared with the old treatment regimen which was an interferon based therapies with at most 50 percent effectiveness”.

“The second DAA generation is pan-genotypic which has been shown to induce SVR (sustained virologic response) in 98% of patients. The introduction of these treatments decrease the burden of cirrhosis and most cases of HCV-related hepatocellular carcinoma”, he said.

Prof. Narchi added that the conference includes a lecture entitled “Genetic Lessons from Colon Cancer” by Prof. Sanford Markowitz, Case Western Reserve University, School of Medicine, USA, winner of Hamdan International Award for Medical Research Excellence on the topic of Colon Disorders.

“Professor Markowitz will deal with his lab conducted studies to identify the role of aberrant DNA methylation as a genetic driver of colon and other gastrointestinal cancers; it also develops one of the first diagnostic tests for early colon cancer detection based on assays for aberrant DNA methylation. Also It identified two key colon cancer tumor suppressor genes”.

“More recently his lab has identified a prostaglandin-degrading enzyme, 15-PGDH, as a key factor of the tumor suppression mechanisms. This enzyme degrades colon prostaglandins, so it metabolically antagonizes the COX-2 oncogene and acts as a potent tumor suppressor”.

“He found that having this prostaglandin-degrading enzyme is a required factor for aspirin to prevent colon cancer, and those persons with low colon enzyme levels are resistant to aspirin as a colon cancer prevention element. In addition, the enzyme suppresses colon cancer development by inhibiting proliferation of colon stem cells after injury”.

“Also, the winner of the Hamdan International Award for Medical Research excellence in the topic of Pancreatic Diseases, is Professor David Tuveson, Deputy Director of the Cold Spring Harbor, Laboratory Cancer Centre, USA, will present in the conference a lecture entitled “Organoids to study and stop Pancreatic Cancer”, Prof. Narchi said.

“Professor Tuveson will discuss Pancreatic Cancer which remains the most dangerous of the common malignancies, due the lack of a viable early detection method and the limited activity of most drugs”.

“He will deal with the recently co-developed mouse and human pancreatic cancer organoid model systems which promise to accelerate the development of new diagnostic and therapeutic strategies, and also enable the analysis of tumor microenvironment interactions”.

“The organoid series have allowed scientists to query the function of important mediators of pancreatic cancer oncogenesis. Additionally, it has used the organoid series to identify new biomarkers of early pancreatic cancer”.

“Also, a lecture entitled ” Liver stem cells and hepatic organoids to study liver biology and disease” will be presented at the 9DICMS by the winner of the Hamdan Award for Medical Research Excellence, on the topic of Liver Disorders, Dr. Meritxell Huch, Wellcome Trust/Cancer Research UK Gurdon Institute, University of Cambridge, Cambridge � UK”.

“Dr. Huch will deal with her novel liver stem cell culture system, applied on mouse liver stem cells. She and her colleagues succeeded in making the mouse cells expanding in vitro (for >1 year), into “liver organoids”. The cultured cells differentiate into functional hepatocytes in vitro and upon transplantation in vivo”.

“She is moving onto testing it with human cells, which would not only be more relevant to research into human disease, but would also lead to the development of a patient’s own liver tissue for transplantation”, Prof. Narchi added.

Source: Emirates News Agency

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