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QF R&D ‘RESEARCH DIALOGUE’ EVENT HIGHLIGHTS CANCER CARE AND RESEARCH ACHIEVEMENTS
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QF R&D ‘RESEARCH DIALOGUE’ EVENT HIGHLIGHTS CANCER CARE AND RESEARCH ACHIEVEMENTS

Seminar Focuses on Role of Research and Innovation in Tackling Qatar’s Cancer Challenge

Qatar’s achievements in the field of cancer care and cancer research over the last five years have been highlighted by one of the nation’s leading experts in the field through the latest edition of Qatar Foundation Research and Development’s (QF R&D) ‘Research Dialogue’ discussion series.

In his talk at Qatar Foundation Headquarters at Education City, Professor Alexander Knuth, Medical Director and Chief Executive Officer, National Center for Cancer Care and Research, and Chairman of Cancer Services, Hamad Medical Corporation, explained how the Qatar National Cancer Research Strategy, launched in 2012, reinforced the essential role of research and innovation in improving care for Qatar’s population, and in saving lives.

The seminar, titled ‘Positioning Qatar as a Hub for Cancer Medicine and Research’, focused on how these efforts have built a foundation for developing internationally-competitive cancer research. The Qatar Cancer Research Partnership (QCRP) - encompassing Qatar’s clinical, academic and cancer research partners - has been charged with delivering the cancer research agenda, and Professor Knuth, who chairs the QCRP, explained how a strategic relationship with QF R&D helps to achieve this.

Professor Knuth outlined the wide-ranging achievements that have resulted from strong collaboration between academic health system partnerships. These include the introduction of screening programs for breast and bowel cancers, as well as new roles to support patients, such as Patient Pathway Coordinators and Cancer Clinical Nurse Specialists. Specialist cancer multidisciplinary teams for each type of cancer have been established, and the National Cancer Registry and the National Peer Review programs allow services to be internationally benchmarked. 

As a result of the strategic investment made over the past five years in cancer services and cancer research, Qatar is now positioned to become a regional hub for cancer care and research. Professor Knuth said: “This forum is a great opportunity for the academic and research community to come together, share information, and hear about the numerous projects being worked on.”

“A unified platform for basic, translational, and clinical cancer research in Qatar is a key aspect of what we hope to achieve to help address the challenge of cancer, and a strategic relationship with QF R&D creates the opportunity to support impactful research and innovation that generates intellectual property and enhances cancer care.”

Professor Knuth is Professor Emeritus of the University of Zurich, where he was Chair of Internal Medicine/Oncology, from 2003-2013. He holds over 175 patents in the field of cancer immunology and cancer immunotherapy and has brought his extensive cancer research experience to Qatar, having conducted pioneering work on human cancer immunology, and taken an instrumental role in developing cancer vaccination strategies, establishing techniques for monitoring cancer immunity, and discovering tumor-escape mechanisms.

He explained how research and innovation are imperative to improving cancer care, saying: “While Qatar has made great strides in improving cancer treatment in recent years, there is still much to be accomplished if we are to find new ways to tackle this disease in the most effective manner.”

Dr. Hamad Al-Ibrahim, Executive Vice President, QF R&D, said: “Enhancing understanding of, engagement with, and support for research and development that addresses Qatar’s greatest challenges is an essential aspect of QF R&D’s mission, and of the nation’s research ecosystem.”

“By enabling an expert of Professor Knuth’s caliber to share his knowledge and insight, we hope members of Qatar’s research community will have a deeper understanding of how Qatar’s vision for cancer care aligns with the Qatar National Research Strategy, and be further galvanized to develop innovations that can bring true societal benefit to Qatar, and potentially the world.”

‘Research Dialogue’ enables researchers, scientists, and other stakeholders within Qatar’s research and development ecosystem, as well as members of the wider community, to hear from and interact with local, regional, and international expert speakers, and to explore a diverse range of topics. Through allowing knowledge and opinions to be exchanged, this platform for outreach supports the efforts of QF R&D to foster a culture of research and innovation in Qatar.

For more information about QF R&D’s ‘Research Dialogue’ series, visit www.qfrd.org.

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