Posted on December 07, 2016

Qatar University (QU) hosted the 6th Annual Meeting of The Middle Eastern Association For Cancer Research (MEACR) on December 3-5.

The 3-day conference is organized by MEACR in collaboration with QU-Health (Colleges of Medicine, Pharmacy and Health Sciences), Biomedical Research Center (BRC) and National Center for Cancer Care and Research (NCCCR), and supported by Qatar National Research Fund (QNRF). It brought together clinicians and cancer researchers from Qatar, Algeria, Canada, Egypt, France, Jordan, Kuwait, Lebanon, Morocco, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia, Tunisia, Turkey, UAE, USA, and Yemen. They discussed and shared their research and experiences on a wide range of topics related to human cancers.

The first day’s program featured 4 sessions titled “Cancer Genetics & Circulating Cancer Cells”, “Cancer Genetics & Gene Targets”, “Microbiota/Oncovirus & Cancer”, and “Anticancer Drug Delivery & Treatment”. Presentations focused on a wide range of issues such as “The Impact Of Human Genome Project On Our Lives During The 21st Century And Beyond”, “Circulating Tumor Cells (CTCs) As A Prognostic Biomarker For Disease Progression In Breast Cancer”, “Genomic Profiling Of Thyroid Cancer Reveals A Role For Thyroglobulin In Metastasis”, “HPV Infection And Genetic Predisposition In Cervical Cancer In Saudi Arabia”, “Novel Approach To Target Aggressive Cancer Cells Using Non-Toxic Compounds”, and many more.

The second day’s program included 4 sessions on “Cancer Immunology & Molecular Cancer Classification”, “Cancer Epidemiology & Pathogenesis”, “Cancer Therapy I & Cancer Patients’ Education”, and “Cancer Therapy II & Cancer and Obesity”. Discussions focused on numerous topics such as “Immunotherapy Of Cancer: Opportunities, Obstacles And Impact Of Tumor Microenvironment”, “Natural Killer Cell-Based Immunotherapy For Cancer Treatment”, “Trends in Colorectal Cancer Survival in Arab World, 1990-2009”, “Monoclonal Antibodies As Carriers For Delivery Of Therapeutic Agents In Cancer: Factors Affecting Antigenic Accessibility”, and “P90 Ribosomal S6 Kinase: A potential Therapeutic Target in Lung Cancer”, among many others.

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Also on the program were a meeting for the members of the MEACR Executive Committee and a campus tour in which participants were briefed on QU facilities and services. All the abstracts presented during the conference will be published in the 6th volume of the Clinical Cancer Investigation Journal (CCIJ) which will be issued in 2017.

In his remarks, QU Vice President for Medical Education and CMED Dean Dr Egon Toft said: “It is a pleasure to welcome you to Qatar University and to the sixth Annual Meeting of the Middle Eastern Association for Cancer Research. I am impressed by the number of papers and diversity of topics; and confident that the coming few days will be enriching, stimulating and hopefully also enjoyable. It has since the inauguration been my interest to see the College of Medicine at Qatar University play a role in driving the momentum of collaboration in the medical field across the region. I think there is a lot to warrant such collaboration and even integration. However, the outlook is currently towards markets with a more established legacy in medical education and research, especially the US and Europe.”

He added: “Many of the countries in the region have very ambitious and promising research and healthcare systems, but they are mostly working in isolation from each other. I view meetings like this one, as opportunities to reduce any such isolation. Within the College of Medicine, we are equally committed to this collaborative approach, from the focus on inter-professional education, to the recent formation of a cluster that bring all medicine and health colleges under one umbrella. In closing, I take the opportunity to thank the Middle Eastern Association for Cancer Research for their leadership in bringing together cancer researchers across the region to build bridges, break barriers and foster scientific progress. Cancer is a focus area in Qatar’s National Health Strategy and a key theme in the College’s research strategy.  I hope our collaboration will continue and that we will be able to make significant contributions for the fight against cancer.”

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MEACR Founder and Director, CMED Professor and CCIJ Editor-in-Chief Dr Ala-Eddin Al Moustafa (pictured) said: “This year, we are glad to host the meeting here at Qatar University which has recently joined its colleges of health, pharmacy and medicine under one cluster, and which houses the Biomedical Research Center and collaborates with the National Center for Cancer Care & Research (NCCCR) in Doha. On this occasion, we would like to announce the new partnership agreement between the MEACR and its official scientific journal (Clinical Cancer Investigation Journal: CCIJ) and the Health Cluster of Qatar University particularly with the College of Medicine which will help our association and its journal flourish and grow in the future. Our determination to foster cancer research in the region aligns perfectly with the objectives of Qatar University and with Qatar’s National Health Strategy. We hope to continue to build on this mutual interest and create ever-evolving synergies that will serve both cancer research and patient care in the region and beyond.”

QNRF Officer, Biomedical & Health Pillar Dr Fatemeh Darakhshan-Rassam said: “QNRF is always pleased to be able to support events such as this through its Conference & Workshop Sponsorship Program.”