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January 7, 2015

Contributing to preventive and personalized medicine in Qatar

RIKEN-PMI Program Director Yoshihide Hayashizaki and QBRI Executive Director Hilal Lashuel

On December 1, representatives of the RIKEN Preventive Medicine & Diagnosis Innovation Program (RIKEN-PMI) and the Qatar Foundation’s Qatar Biomedical Research Institute (QBRI) met in Doha to sign a Letter of Intent to establish joint research laboratories and programs in the two countries, with the aim to promote preventive and personalized medicine.

As part of this program, RIKEN-PMI will train QBRI scientists and promote the transfer of the omics technologies and expertise in transcription network analysis that it developed through its leadership of the international FANTOM project. The two organizations will explore the possibility of carrying out a biomarker discovery project utilizing RIKEN’s own omics technology, such as next-generation CAGE analysis, with the goal to identify disease signatures. The researchers will apply these skills to diagnostics and therapeutics to address common health issues in Qatar. The partnership’s first project will focus on breast cancer, the most common form of cancer in Qatar.

This is the first major initiative since a Memorandum of Understanding was signed between Qatar Foundation and RIKEN in April 2014 to establish a framework under which the parties will expand scientific exchanges.