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First genomic medicine center Genatak inaugurated in Kuwait Center also conducts individual DNA tracking

 KUWAIT CITY, Feb 19: The first genomic medicine center Genatak has been inaugurated in Jabriya under the patronage and presence of the British Ambassador Frank Baker and Sheikh Dr Ibrahim Al Duaij Al Sabah, prominent personalities in the field of medicine, doctors and the media. Speaking on the occasion, Professor of Genomic Medicine Fahd Al-Mulla, BSc., MB.Ch.B, PhD, FRCPE said Genatak is exclusively associated with world leaders in advanced genomic technology, Oxford Gene Technology (OGT) — a center that specializes in genomic medicine with the aim of diagnosing and preventing genetic diseases. He also said the center is the first of its kind in Kuwait and the entire Gulf region. Genatak is specialized in genetics, genomics and related consultancy services and aimed at offering really high quality cutting edge moderate price in genetic counseling, he said. Genatak aims to start a revolution in genomic medicine that helps in diagnosing numerous rare genetic diseases, trace the genetic patterns from source down to the probability of reoccurrence. Such skills are crucial for disease understanding, prevention and curing, which is especially important in marriage and reproduction. The center will also conduct individual DNA tracking, where one can now predict the disease before it happens, therefore the patients and their families get a head start in preventing hereditary problems which may or may not be curable in the future

This will all take place through the prism of highly sophisticated and modern medical devices, supervised by a large number of medical personnel including genetics specialized doctors, laboratory specialists, technicians and experienced administrators, said Professor Mulla. He added, the establishment of Genatak is in line with the successive developments that showed the dire need for Medical Genetics in the field of modern medicine, in order to deliver information, guidance and educational awareness about the various human diseases. “We view ourselves as partners with our customers, with our community and our health services aim to become regionally recognized pioneer center in the use of genetics and medicine — in a new field called genomic medicine.

Our mission is to offer the most innovative test so that a patient can have informed choices through a network of our laboratories. “There is no way anybody can do 2,000 genetic tests in one place. We decided that this is a good way to do it in partnership with Dr Arif Anwar, Executive Director of Sengenics and Strategic Partner of Oxford Gene Technology (ogt), UK. Genatak, he said, is obsessed with quality and “probably we are the only lab that have the European molecular quality network assurance program. “We insist on quality which is very important. Ninety-nine percent of human genes are similar and only one percent is different, but this one percent between ‘you and me’ gives us the ability to be strong or to be weak or to have sicknesses in some environment and we can change this if we change the environment and this is the important message we want to give,” he added.

He said Genatak offers ‘predictive genomic consultations’ since “all of us are born with a different genetic makeup. We offer tests that can predict your likelihood of developing a genetic disease and help you prevent it before it happens, or predict how a particular drug treatment (pharmacogenomics) or different foods (nutrigenomics) will affect you.” For example, he said, “a cup of coffee, for some may be a real cup of coffee but for others it may be poison if their body has a slow metabolic to destroy the caffeine.” He added only recently, “We were able to sequence the entire human genome with its 3 billion DNA bases.

The British Ambassador to Kuwait His Excellency Frank Baker cutting the ribbon to inaugurate Genatak in Jabriya looked on by Sheikh Dr Ibrahim Al-Duaij Al-Sabah (second from left), and Fahd Al-Mulla (second from right). Photos by Mahmoud Jaded The British Ambassador His Excellency Frank Baker is being briefed on how the system works. DNA sequencing technology has become so effective and powerful in medical practice that the birth of genomic medicine was inevitable. “Genatak brings to the people of entire region premarital counseling and testing, prenatal tests using mother’s blood to detect Down’s, Patau and Edward’s syndromes in one test, after 10 weeks of pregnancy; development delay in children, autism spectrum, tests and counseling for more than 2,000 genetic disorders and prevention of hereditary and breast cancers”.

As an example, Professor Mulla gave a compelling story to illustrate the power of genomic medicine. He said a well-know actress and a WHO activist, whose mother and aunt had died of breast cancer decided to go for genetic screening and discovered she carried the same mutation. She decided to take charge of her destiny and had a bilateral breast mastectomy. Plastic surgery for her now looks much better without the fear in her mind of having breast cancer. Genatak is located in Jabriya, Mazaya Complex, 10th floor, 4th Ring Road, Block 1 A, Bldg 198.

By: Paul Francis X. Fernandes Arab Times Staff

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