His Highness Sheikh Dr. Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Member of the Supreme Council, Ruler of Sharjah and President of the University of Sharjah, met with a team of researchers from the University of Sharjah and congratulated them on their breakthrough medical discoveries in the treatment of cancer and Alzheimer’s.
A team consisting of Dr. Sami Mahmoud, Director, University of Sharjah, Dr. Hossam Eldin Hamdi, Vice-Chancellor for Medical Colleges and Dean of the Faculty of Medicine, University of Sharjah, and Dr. Salem Chouaib, Research Director, French National Institute of Health and Biomedical Research (INSERM), met with the Ruler of Sharjah at his office.
During the meeting, the team was applauded for their outstanding contribution to putting Sharjah on the map of clinical trials. His Highness also said that the research outcomes have been generated within record time and exceeded all expectations. He commended France-based INSERM institute for offering support to researchers at the University of Sharjah.
Details on the medical research were announced at a recent press conference hosted by the University of Sharjah. Chaired by Dr. Hossam Eldin Hamdi, the event was attended by Dr. Talal Al Tel and Dr. Raafat Al Awadi from the university’s College of Pharmacy.
Acknowledging the Ruler of Sharjah’s commendation for the university’s work, Dr. Mahmoud said: “His Highness has successfully laid the foundation for Sharjah to emerge as a hub for scientific research. He has led the way through his involvement in academic and scientific work and established a collaborative network between Sharjah and some of the world’s largest and leading universities and research institutions. These discoveries are a progression of his long term vision. The university’s caliber to achieve such an amazing scientific feat reinforces Sharjah’s and the UAE’s status on the global landscape for clinical trials.”
Dr Mahmoud pointed out that the scientific infrastructure that Sharjah and the UAE provide is on par with international standards and has been developed under the wise leadership of the Ruling Family.
He added: “It is infrastructure such as this that has facilitated the development of international scientific breakthroughs. It also underscores the synergy between the University of Sharjah and the Sharjah Research Academy.”
Under the umbrella of the Ministry of Higher Education and Scientific Research, the Sharjah Research Academy oversees the mandate of the Sharjah Medical Research Centre. The two form part of a medical cluster that includes the Sharjah University Hospital, University Dental Hospital and the Sharjah Centre of Clinical and Surgical Training Centre. The cluster also has under its purview four medical and health colleges.
Throwing light on the University of Sharjah’s medical breakthrough for the treatment of Alzheimer’s disease, Dr. Mahmoud said the condition affects people over the age of 40 and damages the memory cells. The disease costs the US and Europe US$110 billion annually. “The findings for our Alzheimer’s research have been published in international scientific journals and garnered high attention from experts, particularly in France and Japan. INSERM has also offered support to the research team through sharing access to its cancer cell bank, which holds 4,000 different specimens to aid research work. We are also in the process of forging a partnership with Japan in conducting such specialised experiments.”
Adding that the university’s second finding is a combination of new chemical components to cure breast cancer cells, he said: “Cancer has attracted the attention of international research centres and medical institutes in the US, Europe and Japan. These countries have shown interest in signing legal contracts that will give them the right to experiment on animals and humans.”
Dr. Mahmoud concluded that in its race to find solutions for Alzheimer’s and cancer, academic institutions around the world are stressing on the importance of microbiology, a subject that is offered as part of the University of Sharjah’s Masters and PhD programmes.
On his part, Dr. Al Tel discussed the levels of development that were required to create the chemical formula for the cure of Alzheimer’s. He outlined the various stages of experiments involved. The first stage created a 3D model with specialised computer software to substantiate scientific theories on combining chemical formulae with enzymes. The second stage involved putting the theories into practice in the lab, which presented positive results. In the third stage of the experiment, the combined chemical formulae were tested on diseased cancer cells.
He said: “Once the results of the experiment were finalised, they were published in an international scientific journal specialising in biotechnology that has grabbed the attention of many experts in the field. International authorities have approached us at the University of Sharjah seeking permission for testing out the results on humans and raising awareness on its efficacy in the medical world, upon confirmation of the results.”
Dr. Al Awadi said: “Our research work on creating new chemical formulae for breast cancer has proved successful. We are indeed happy that they have proved their capacity to destroy cancer cells without any side-effects or impact on healthy cells.”
In addition to Dr. Talal Al Tel and Dr. Raafat Al Awadi, the research team included Dr Mohamed Harb and Dr Maha Saber from the College of Pharmacy, as well as Dr Rania Zaarour from the biotechnology department at the University of Sharjah.