Sidra Medicine to Open the First Reprogrammable Cell Therapy Facility in the MENA Region

Sidra Medicine will open the MENA region’s first reprogrammable cell therapy facility as part of its state-of-the-art hospital and research center.  The facility will investigate a novel treatment approach, called reprogrammable cell therapy, where cells are altered to treat or cure disease.  The facility will act as a resource for the entire region and Sidra Medicine will seek to collaborate with local and regional medical institutions.  Sidra Medicine is currently collaborating with the National Institutes of Health, a U.S.-based medical research center, to plan the site.

“We are delighted to be working with the National Institutes for Health to build this cutting edge research facility in Qatar.  The research conducted here will further our understanding of this potentially breakthrough treatment option and, hopefully one day, allow Sidra Medicine to offer it to the people of Qatar,” said Sidra Medicine’s Chief Research Officer, Dr. Francesco Marincola.

A delegation, led by David F. Stroncek, MD, Chief of the Cell Processing Section at the National Institutes of Health, toured Sidra Medicine last week to discuss plans for the facility. “The construction of Sidra Medicine is a major feat in terms of what it will contribute to the international medical and research community.  We are delighted that this lab will be part of the Center and that Qatar is investing in advancing this important research.  When built, this will be one of the few labs in the world that is capable of investigating this innovative therapeutic approach,” said Dr. Stroncek.

Out of the nearly 30 such centers internationally that are capable of carrying out this research, none are based in the MENA region. Her Highness Sheikha Moza Bint Nasser in March endorsed the need for such a facility in Qatar to support local and regional research programs.

It is hoped that in two to three years, when the lab is fully functioning, the research conducted here will pave the way for treating patients with serious and untreatable conditions that are resistant to standard procedures. Research will initially focus on pediatric patients with cancer and inborn immune deficiency disorders, as well as hematological problems.