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Imperial College London to set up stroke research centre in Qatar

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Posted September 25, 2013

Scientists from Imperial College London will lead the creation of a Stroke Centre for Research and Teaching Excellence in Qatar.

The centre, established with a total $2 million grant from the Qatar National Research Fund, will be the first stroke centre of excellence in the Middle East. It will be run in partnership with Hamad Medical Corporation, the country’s leading non-profit healthcare provider.

Imperial researchers at the centre will study DNA samples from Qatari stroke patients to investigate genetic factors that influence risk of stroke. Qatari scientists will also receive training at Imperial as part of the project.

The centre’s research will complement the work of the Qatar Biobank, a major resource set up in 2010 with support from Imperial scientists. The Biobank was created to collect biological samples and data from tens of thousands of Qatari residents to enable large-scale research into the causes of disease.

Stroke, which occurs when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off, is the second biggest cause of death worldwide. Genetic factors and lifestyle factors are thought to be equally important for an individual’s risk of having a stroke.

Dr Pankaj Sharma, who heads the Imperial College Cerebrovascular Research Unit (ICCRU) within the Division of Brain Sciences, will be the Director of the new centre. “We’re already conducting similar studies in the UK and in India, but this centre will allow us to study the genes affecting stroke risk in a Middle Eastern population for the first time,” he said.

“This is important because different genes might influence stroke risk in different populations. The results will tell us about the biological causes of stroke, and could ultimately lead to treatments that are tailored to the patient’s ethnic background. The ability to also train Qatari clinicians in stroke management will improve the outcome of stroke in Qatar and the Middle East”

Source: Imperial College London

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