Dubai Health Authority Stem Cells
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Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi Stem Cells Centre on Monday announced it will conduct new clinical trials to assess treatments for diabetes and multiple sclerosis, two of the biggest health issues in the UAE.

ADSCC, a specialist healthcare centre focused on cell therapy and regenerative medicine is pioneering the ‘OPERA’ trial for Type 1 diabetes and the ‘PHOMS’ trial for multiple sclerosis. The trials will explore therapeutic alternatives for treating both diseases and analyze efficacy of intervention.

According to a 2019 International Diabetes Federation report, the UAE has one of the world’s highest prevalence rates of diabetes. Meanwhile, the prevalence of MS in the UAE is approximately 64 cases per 100,000 people, according to a 2019 research article published by scientists at the Sheikh Khalifa Medical City.

Dr Yendry Ventura, Specialist in Immunology and General Manager of ADSCC, said: “The high rates of diabetes and multiple sclerosis pose a serious threat to the quality of life of the people living in the UAE. The number of diabetes cases is a real concern, and its potential consequences are compounded by a lack of therapeutic alternatives.

“The seminal ‘OPERA’ and ‘PHOMS’ clinical trials will provide new insights into the treatment of the diseases to both improve the quality of healthcare in the UAE and help raise awareness about the importance of leading a healthy lifestyle.”

Dr Ventura, added: “With the UAE celebrating its 49th National Day, the announcement of these clinical trials is a testament to our commitment to continually serve and protect the UAE and its people.”

Protocols for the trials are currently under review by the ADSCC ethics committee before being presented to the Department of Health–Abu Dhabi for approval. In conducting the trials, ADSCC will use extracorporeal photopheresis, a US-approved therapy.

ADSCC became the first-ever research centre in the UAE to conduct a clinical trial with the Sentad-COVID study in April. In July 2020, ADSCC launched the “Abu Dhabi Bone Marrow Transplant” program, which treats blood cancer patients using stem cells. To date, the program has already successfully treated four patients.