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Qatar Biobank – A Regional Hub for Medical research and Expertise

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WHAT IS QATAR BIOBANK?

Qatar Biobank, a center within Qatar Foundation, was created in collaboration with Hamad Medical Corporation and the Ministry of Public Health to enable local scientists to conduct medical research on prevalent health issues in Qatar.

During the pilot phase, which concluded in February 2016, Qatar Biobank received the expert support of scientists from Imperial College London.

Through its collection of samples and information on health and lifestyle from large numbers of members of the population of Qatar, Qatar Biobank will make vital health research possible for researchers in Qatar, the region and the world.

Qatar Biobank is a globally unique resource that will raise Qatar’s profile in biomedical research regionally and globally.

VISION, MISSION AND POLICIES

Vision

Establish a research enterprise platform across Qatar to achieve extra-ordinary improvement in diagnostic and prognostic intelligence required to deliver personalized health care for the benefits of people in Qatar, the region and worldwide

Mission

To act as the Qatar National Centre for biological samples and health information to enable research towards the discovery and development of new healthcare interventions

Qatar Biobank Quality Policy Statement

Qatar Biobank (QBB), a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development is a national population based platform that was initiated to support the future biomedical research and clinical interventions to improve the health of the population of Qatar. QBB aims to provide vital medical research possible for scientists in Qatar, the region and the world through the collection of samples and information from upto 60,000 participants of Qatari citizens and longterm residents on their health and lifestyles and follow up them for many years. To ensure that this is effectively implemented in QBB, the top management is committed to the continual improvement of the quality management system by,

  • Committing itself in implementing and maintaining systems that comply with the requirements of ISO 9001:2015 and all the applicable statutory & regulatory and other relevant requirements.
  • Setting measurable quality objectives for departments/functions/operations based on the need to comply with applicable standards and to improve the performance of the processes to meet the national objective.
  • Ensuring that all the QBB employees are sufficiently competent based on education, training and actively engaged in the quality management system by effectively communincating the purpose of this quality statement.
  • Focusing the importance of quality assurance and quality control in the collection integration and availability of the data and samples generated in QBB.
  • Ensuring that the data from the researchs done thorugh QBB are reliable and are readily available for the scientific community.
  • Ensuring that this policy statement and quality requirements are made available to all the relevant interested parties.
  • Ensuring that this policy statement is reviewed periodically for continued suitability and relevance in its purpose.

Qatar Biobank Information Security Management System Policy Statement

Qatar Biobank (QBB), a member of Qatar Foundation for Education, Science and Community Development is a national population based platform that was initiated to support the future biomedical research and clinical interventions to improve the health of the population of Qatar. QBB aims to provide vital medical research possible for scientists in Qatar, the region and the world through the collection of samples and information from up to 60,000 participants of Qatari citizens and long term residents on their health and lifestyles and follow up them for many years.

QBB have implemented an information security management system that complies with the requirements of the ISO 27001:2013 standard to ensure its protection of confidentiality and integrity of all the information of our participants, staff, collaborating researchers, and other stakeholders within the scope of the ISMS.

For achieving this, QBB is committed to:

  • Ensure availability of information in accordance with QBB’s vision and objectives
  • Ensure that all staff and relevant interested parties who are in contact with confidential and sensitive information are made aware of their responsibilities and accountabilities in the ISMS, to ensure ISMS objectives are effectively and efficiently achieved.
  • ISMS objectives at the relevant functional levels/departments are established based on the results of the information security risk assessment, and identified areas for improvement through the management review meetings.
  • Comply with applicable ethical, statutory, regulatory and legal requirements of the state of Qatar
  • The continual improvement of the information security management system (ISMS) in compliance with the needs and expectations of our stakeholders

This policy shall be reviewed for its suitability and applicability in the management review meetings and approved policy statement shall be communicated within the organization and made available to all relevant interested parties.

COM017 - Hero image for Qatar Biobank

WHAT WE DO

Qatar Biobank will serve as a platform and driver of health research through recruiting large numbers of the Qatari population to contribute biological samples and information about their health and lifestyle.

Qatar Biobank population-based cohort study

Qatar Biobank cohort study is a population-based long-term study aiming to collect high-quality biological samples and annotated data for 60,000 participants from Qataris and long-term Qatar residents who live in Qatar for at least 15 years (age ≥ 18 years) to promote medical research in Qatar and worldwide.

COVID-19 Biorepository

The COVID-19 Biorepository is a National Disease-based study aiming to collect adequate health information and biological samples of 6,000 participants to enable evidence-based research towards the discovery and development of novel healthcare interventions and to facilitate research projects related to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Qatar Birth Cohort Study

The Qatari Birth Cohort study is the first mother-child cohort study in the Gulf that aims to assess the synergetic role of environmental exposure and genetic factors in the development of chronic diseases. The aim is to follow up 3,000 women during their pregnancy, at delivery and then follow up their children and father (triads: Mother-Child-Father) for a period of 5 years.

HOW WILL QATAR BIOBANK BENEFIT QATAR’S COMMUNITIES?

  • Qatar Biobank is now considered as Qatar’s National Repository Centre for biological samples & health information records, promoting medical research.
  • Qatar Biobank works together with Qatar’s healthcare system and other governmental authorities providing evidence-based health screening approaches to be utilized for developing Policies, Regulations & Guidelines for the protection of public health and the environment in Qatar.
  • Qatar Biobank supports academic students by providing data to be utilized for educational projects.
  • Qatar Biobank in collaboration with Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF) and QGP (Qatar Genome Programme), has launched a grant under the name Pathway Towards Personalized Medicine (PPM) in 2015 (PPM1) and the 2nd cycle in 2017 (PPM2) encouraging researchers working on genomics.
  • Phone +974 44541177
  • Email takepart@qatarbiobank.org.qa
  • Address Qatar Biobank, Doha, Qatar
    See on map

    FAQ’S

    What is the purpose of Qatar Biobank?

    Qatar Biobank is a platform that will make vital health research possible through its collection of samples and information on health and lifestyle from large numbers of members of the Qatari population. Qatar Biobank, Qatar’s long-term medical health initiative, was created to give Qatar’s people better chances of avoiding serious illnesses, and to promote better health for our future generations.

    Through its collection of samples and information on health and lifestyle, researchers will be able to understand why some people in the Qatari population develop certain diseases and why others do not.

    Over the next few years, research enabled by Qatar Biobank will show how the health of the Qatari population is affected by their lifestyle, environment and genes. Qatar Biobank will, therefore, help improve the prevention and treatment of diabetes, heart disease, cancer, obesity and other life-threatening and debilitating illnesses that affect communities in Qatar.

    Qatar Biobank not only to aims to give the people of Qatar better chances of avoiding serious illnesses, but also to better safeguard and to promote better health for future generations.

    Your involvement will give our future generations the promise of better, healthier lives.

    Only approved medical researchers will have access to the information and samples you provide. Their research credentials, the standing and reputation of their institutions and the worthiness of their research will be thoroughly assessed. Only researchers planning high-quality and beneficial research will be given access.Even then, those given access will NEVER be told who you are. Any data that could easily identify you will be removed before we supply the information, so your privacy will be protected at all times.

    Qatar Biobank was created in collaboration with Hamad Medical Corporation and the Ministry of Public Health to enable local scientists to conduct medical research on prevalent health issues in Qatar. During the pilot phase, which concluded in February 2016, Qatar Biobank received the expert support of scientists from Imperial College London. Our centre is located at Building 17 at Hamad Medical City, Doha.

    Who can take part in Qatar Biobank?

    Anyone who is an at least 18 years old and either a Qatari national or a long-term resident who has lived in Qatar for at least 15 years. There is no upper age limit and your current health status does not affect whether or not you can take part. Later, we will extend the invitation to younger people aged from 14 to 17 years.

    What does taking part in Qatar Biobank involve?

    Participating will involve:

    • Attending our Qatar Biobank center located at Building 29, Hamad Medical City, Doha (see map) for an assessment session that will last around 3 hours
    • Giving your consent to take part and agreeing to allow Qatar Biobank to track and assess your health for many years, through your medical health records.
    • Having a series of measurements, such as height, weight, blood pressure, body composition, heart and lung function, grip strength, a simple eye test and a walking test on a treadmill. All measurements are non-invasive, sanitary and safe. You can find further information on each of the tests on our website. Please note, all of the questions and tests are entirely optional.
    • Give samples of blood (about 60 milliliters, or around the same volume as a “pocket sized” hand sanitizer gel), urine and saliva for long-term storage and analysis (including genetic data)
    • Completing a detailed questionnaire about your health and lifestyle using either a specially-designed touchscreen computer or with a trained interviewer.
    • Agreeing to have your samples and health information stored and used, in complete confidence, by approved researchers for many years.
    • Agreeing to be re-contacted by Qatar Biobank to answer more questions and perhaps attend another assessment visit at sometime in the future (this is entirely optional)
    • All tests are optional and you are able to opt out at any point

      Will I need to undress during my assessment visit?

      Yes. You will be asked to remove your shoes and socks and clothing, and wear a gown to have the measurements taken. If you do not want to remove your shoes or clothes that is fine – we will not take those measurements.

      Will any of my assessment results be given back to me?

      If you want them, you will be given some of the test measurements and results, including, height, weight, percentage body fat, blood pressure and lung function, plus how they compare with the accepted norms for your particular circumstances. A doctor will check your results and you will be advised if any results are not in the normal range, and a medical referral process will be available.If you say from the start that you do not want to know any of your results, we will respect this and withhold them.

      What happens after the assessment visit?

      For many years after the visit we would like to use the full medical health records of everyone who participates to track and assess their health.At some time in the future, participants might be contacted by us and asked to attend another assessment visit. However, additional contact with Qatar Biobank is entirely optional.All of your information will be entirely private and confidential.

      What happens to the blood, urine and saliva samples?

      Small samples of blood, urine and saliva are collected from each participant during the assessment, which will allow a wide range of different tests. The samples will be processed and stored at Qatar Biobank’s laboratory.Each sample is divided into several smaller samples for deep-freeze storage. Processing includes preserving the white cells in such a way that they can be grown, and thus provide more genetic material in the future.The Qatar Biobank resource will become increasingly valuable for medical research over the years, so these samples may be kept for several decades. During this time, parts of the samples will be used up by researchers. At the end of their natural life, all the remaining samples will be securely destroyed.

      Are there any risks in taking part in Qatar Biobank?

      Taking part in Qatar Biobank involves minimal risk, and all of the tests and measurements are non-invasive. Our fully-trained staff will consult you at every stage, and no test or measurement will be made without your full agreement.The use of your data will also involve minimal risk. We have taken great care to ensure the complete confidentiality of all your personal information.

      Yes. Islam is permissive when it comes to the use of biological information for research purposes if it is regulated within the context of culture and religion.Qatar Biobank aims to comply with the Declaration of Kuwait, which deals with the Ethics of medicine in the light of Islamic law (Editorial, World Med J, 1982). The Declaration stated that the ethical conduct of research rests on three guiding principles: respect for persons, beneficence, and justice. Respect for persons underlies the duty to obtain informed consent from study participants. Beneficence demands a favorable balance between the potential benefits and harms of participation. Justice requires that vulnerable people are not exploited and that eligible candidates who may benefit from participation are not be excluded without good cause.Further to the Declaration of Kuwait, Islamic scholars met at an international session in Qatar to discuss biomedical research and have developed a fatwa based on the Qur’an and Hadith (statements of the prophet). They permit the use of biological information for research and therapy, and see biomedical research as a very important tool for scientists in this part of the world.

      Going forward, ongoing work is being done to ensure that Biobank remains compliant with Islamic Law – Qatar Foundation has developed a partnership with the James A. Baker III Institute for Public Policy at Rice University in Houston, Texas, to develop a policy on the ethical implications surrounding biomedical research. Also, Qatar Foundation has recently launched the Center for Islamic Law and Ethics, and Qatar Biobank will work with this center to ensure that the work we do is compliant with Islamic law and ethics.

      Will I be asked to provide feedback on my experience at Qatar Biobank?

      Yes, your feedback is very important to us. We welcome your thoughts on what works well and what works less well so that we can continually improve and develop Qatar Biobank in a way that our communities understand and value.

      Can I eat and drink before my appointment with Qatar Biobank?

      There is no need to fast before your appointment, you can eat and drink as normal before arriving at the Qatar Biobank center.Please note you will be offered water at the start of your appointment and your next opportunity to eat and drink will be at the end of your appointment where we will offer you some light refreshments.

      How will my personal information be kept secure?

      Protecting the confidentiality of our participants is a top priority for us. We have put rigorous processes in place, including access control, computer security, confidentiality agreements and staff training.

      If I agree to take part in Qatar Biobank, what happens if I change my mind?

      • Participation is entirely up to you. However, please note Qatar Biobank will be most valuable if few people withdraw, so please discuss any concerns you might have before agreeing to participate.
      • If you decide to take part, you will be asked to sign a consent form during your assessment visit. If you decide to participate, and then change your mind, you are free to withdraw at any time.

        How can I book an appointment to participate?

        Please either simply reply to your invitation email or call our contact center at 44541177. Appointments are available from Sunday through Thursday from 8:00 AM to 3:00 PM

        Where can I get further information?

To know more about it click on link 

https://www.qatarbiobank.org.qa/

 

Qatar Biobank for Medical Research

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