QF cancer genetic study paves way for precision prevention program

A new study by researchers from the Qatar Foundation (QF), Qatar Genome Research Consortium and Weill Cornell Medicine-Qatar (WCM-Q) has reported the first landscape of germline variation in cancer – known as hereditary cancer – in the Middle-East.
The study, led by Dr. Lotfi Chouchane of WCM-Q, was published online in the “Lancet Oncology”, a prestigious peer-reviewed medical journal published by the “Lancet”, and is titled “The genetic predisposition to cancer among people of different ancestries in Qatar: a population-based cohort study”.
The study provides an in-depth screening for common and rare cancer genetic markers in Qataris.
The risk of developing cancer varies by ancestry.
Middle Eastern countries, including Qatar, are experiencing an alarming increase in the number of cancer patients.
Many genetic markers associated with disease, including cancer, show substantial diversity among different populations.
However, the difference in cancer risk between those who have inherited cancer, passed down from generation to generation, is not well defined in the Arab population.
The present study sheds light on genetic markers of cancer found in Middle Eastern populations to help understand the development or progression of cancer, and highlights the high degree of diversity in cancer susceptibility across observed ancestors. in the Qatari population, the QF said in a press release.
These results must be taken into account for the implementation of national preventive medicine programs against cancer.
Dr Chouchane, the study’s Principal Investigator and Professor of Genetic Medicine, Professor of Microbiology and Immunology at Qatar Foundation Partner University WCM-Q, said: “Integration of medicine technology from accuracy, including cancer screening and genome sequencing, in the primary care system in Qatar has significant potential.
“The results of our study provide a valuable source to capture the genetic markers of cancer in the different ancestors of Arab populations and set the quantitative and qualitative expectations for the results of personal genome sequencing,” he said.
“With screening, prevention and early detection at the forefront of the cancer agenda in Qatar, we propose to leverage population genome sequencing by initiating national population testing programs to identify cancer carriers. highly penetrating cancerous genetic mutations, such as those at increased risk of hereditary breast/ovarian cancers,” added Dr. Chouchane. “Our study paves the way for a precision cancer prevention program in Qatar .”
“We are committed at Qatar Genome with our partners to spearhead the transition from bench to bedside, and this network is the starting point to provide personalized health and disease screening in Qatar and across the country. region,” said Dr Said Ismail, director of Qatar Genome Program, a member of the Qatar Foundation Research, Development and Innovation.
Michael Pellini, MD, former President and CEO of Foundation Medicine Inc, a leading precision oncology company, and currently Managing Partner of Section 32, LLC, a venture capital firm focused on investment at the intersection of technology and health care, said, “This paper provides great insight into how we could/should be thinking about cancer screening/risk in the future.”
“If we can better understand the germline risk of an individual, or even a subpopulation, we could adapt testing protocols rather than treating everyone the same,” he said. “This will save resources and expense, and will result in much better and more personalized care.”
“The study – part of the Qatar Genome Program Research Consortium and among several other ongoing projects focused on diseases of national priority – also aims to fill the gaps of underrepresented Arab ancestry in genomic research and contribute to increase diversity and equity, a key to advancing science globally,” said Hamdi Mbarek, Head of Research Partnerships at the Qatar Genome Programme.

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