HMC hosts 4th annual Doha-Heidelberg Rare Diseases conference

The fourth edition of the successful Doha–Heidelberg research conference on Rare Diseases was recently hosted by Hamad Medical Corporation (HMC) and Heidelberg University Hospital at the Itqan Simulation and Clinical Innovation Centre in Doha.
The specialised educational conference discussed updates on the diagnosis and management of rare diseases with an in-depth focus on personalised medicine and genetic therapies.
Conference chair Dr Saad al-Kaabi (chair of rare disease committee and chairman of the International Medical Affairs Office at HMC), said the long relationship with the Heidelberg University Hospital has witnessed many achievements and resulted in numerous accomplishments over the past two decades.
“Our continued strong collaboration with Heidelberg University Hospital has ensured that once again we were able to deliver a high-standard scientific conference. This continuing professional development event was arranged to promote learning, education, and research among healthcare professionals with a keen interest in rare diseases; it also highlighted the latest advancements in the diagnosis and management of rare diseases, research advancement and ethical considerations in dealing with rare diseases,” said, Dr al-Kaabi.
“Our aim is to continue making this an exceptional event for all healthcare professionals interested in rare diseases, and related scientific research in Qatar and the region.”
The conference brought together clinicians, scientists, researchers and other stakeholders from different organisations to exchange knowledge and explore new opportunities for clinical and research collaborations. It was open to anyone from within Qatar’s Academic Health System as well as healthcare professionals working in the private sector.
Conference co-chair Dr Reem al-Sulaiman (interim deputy chair of medical genetics department and assistant chair of rare disease committee), said that clinicians from Qatar and Germany had many valuable exchanges in knowledge and experiences that have benefited all patients in both countries in recent years.
“The special collaboration between HMC and Heidelberg University Hospital in the field of newborn screening is a great example that had provided an optimal frame to construct a new innovative research project “Genomic Newborn Screening”, a novel and innovative screening to detect genetic disorders before clinical presentation. This approach is designed to prevent the disease through early diagnosis and treatment,” said Dr al-Sulaiman. “The existing infrastructure at HMC and the long-term collaboration with Heidelberg University Hospital will ensure the successful implementation of this ambitious and unique project making HMC a pioneer in this field in the Middle East.”
The German faculty was led by prof Georg Friedrich Hoffmann, professor of paediatrics and chairman of the University Children’s Hospital Heidelberg, who has been a staunch supporter of HMC’s efforts to develop capacity and capability in the field of rare diseases.
Prof Hoffmann, who is also the head of the committee for newborn screening of the German Paediatric Association and the head of the Centre for Rare Diseases, Medical Centre University of Heidelberg, has worked with HMC in their development of programmes and services focused on the specific healthcare needs of the local population.