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H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum honored the winners of Hamdan Medical Award 15 December 2014

H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Deputy Ruler of Dubai, the UAE Minister of Finance and the Patron of Hamdan Medical Award honored the winners of the award’s 8th term 2013-2014 at a grand ceremony held today evening at Dubai International Convention and Exhibition Center.

During the ceremony, a documentary film about the award was screened. It has reviewed the history of the award during sixteen years in the pursuit of medical excellence locally, regionally and internationally. Also, a film about the winners was screened, talked about their achievements which made a significant leap in the provided healthcare services all over the world.
H.E. Abdul Rahman AL Owais, UAE Minister of Health and chairman of the award’s board of trustees, delivered a speech in which he said: “The award ceremony is an important international event held every two years in the land of the United Arab Emirates. The public sector officials inside and outside the state are eager to it as one of the significant indicators of excellence in the national, regional and international health sectors.
“Since the establishment of the federation of the United Arab Emirates in December 1971 until today, the health sector has come as top priority of our good leadership, may Allah protect it, as represented by His Highness Sheikh Zayed bin Sultan Al Nahyan, followed by His Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, President of the State, His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the UAE Vice President, Prime Minister and Ruler of Dubai and Their Highnesses the Supreme Council Members and Rulers of the Emirates”.
He added: “The work of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences comes within an integrated work system including all state health institutions which work in homogeneity and integration so that an infrastructure for sustainable development would be established in such sector to reach the levels of the aspired progress”.
“Since the establishment of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences in 1999 until now, the Award has been and is still one of the important and creative initiatives of the United Arab Emirates to establish the principle of excellence and giving and to support communication between the academic and health institutions in the government and private sectors”.
“Throughout 16 years the Award has contributed to the establishment of the culture of interest in scientific research at the level of states in the region. It has supported all possible ways to upgrade the professional performance of those in charge at the local, regional and global health sectors”.
“Perhaps honoring the excellent figures who have had a significant imprint on easing people's pain and suffering, which we are dealing with today, is one of the most important fields in which the Award has had leadership worldwide. It believes in the important role of honoring the excellent figures in encouraging them to give more and to motivate others to exert more effort”.
“Over two years, which are the period of a session of the Award, Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences is engaged in monitoring the global health reality and depending on its indicators to formulate its plans and strategies by which it takes part in the advancement of the health sectors”.
The selection of drug discovery as the main topic of its 8th term is just one of the important results of such efforts to highlight this significant topic whose importance increases in light of the rapid developments in the health scene worldwide. During such developments we have witnessed many diseases and epidemics and the main factors to face them have not been available, including the vaccines necessary for limiting the spread of the disease or the therapeutic drugs”, he said.
At the end of his speech, H.E. Abdul Rahman AL Owais extended his sincere congratulations to the winners and thanked the members of the scientific committee of the Award, the international jury committees and the fellow members of the Board of Trustees and the members of the General Secretariat of the Award.
“I’m pleased to extend, on behalf of you all and on behalf of myself, my sincere thanks and gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Hamdan bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Deputy Ruler of Dubai, the Minister of Finance and the patron of the Award for the continuous efforts and generous support of His Highness to the Award and the health sector in order to upgrade the health system at the national, regional and international levels. I pray to Allah, the Almighty, to keep the banner of our beloved country flying high and to guide our steps towards achieving the best for our people and the peoples of the whole world”, he said.
Also, Prof. Najib AL Khaja, Secretary General of Hamdan Medical Award delivered a speech in which he said: “On behalf of myself and my colleagues, the Member of the Secretariat General of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences, I’m pleased to welcome you in this blessed ceremony of honoring the winners of the 8th session awards of 2013-2014”.
“Let me, on behalf of you all, extend many thanks and gratitude to His Highness Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum for his kind sponsorship and unlimited support to our scientific Award which since its inception has played a leading role in upgrading the medical system inside and outside the United Arab Emirates”, he said.
“I’d like to congratulate all winners of Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for Medical Sciences in this term for joining the selected group of scientists and excellent figures who were honored in its previous sessions to be an example for giving and excellence, wishing success in the next times for those who participated and were not lucky”.
“Let take the opportunity to shed light on some achievements of this session through which it has experienced an openness to prestigious scientific institutions and cooperated with such institutions in organizing joint activities to serve the scientific research, continuing medical education and conferences and to well establish the uses of modern technology”.
“The Award celebrated the 10th anniversary of the Centre for Arab Genomic Studies. During such years the Centre succeeded in building up the largest database of genetic diseases in the Arab world which became a significant reference for all people concerned with the science of genetics in the world such as scientists, scholars and officials. This leading work contributed to upgrading the awareness of the Arab institutions which are concerned with the human genetic sciences. Many specialized genetic centers were established and interested in providing curative and research services and training the specialists in such field”, Prof. Najib AL Khaja said.
“The Award continued in its approach to support research in the medical area so that it remained as usual the largest supporter to the scientific research at the state level. The supported research exceeded one hundred (100) research published in global medical journals and in Hamdan Medical Journal. They contributed to enriching the health sector”.
“At the continuing medical education level, the Award is the most important entity supporting the scientific conferences and training courses in diverse specializations”.
“In its current term, the Award focused on enhancing communication with the medical sector officials by modern communication means. It was engaged in developing its electronic newsletter and new website which was recently launched to become one of the most important interactive websites on the medical arena”.
Prof. AL Khaja said: “In its current term, the Award has chosen the drug discovery, vaccines, targeted therapy and cell therapy as the topics of its global prizes, believing in the urgent importance of such topics at a time when many of the deadly and chronic diseases are spread and require radical solutions to face and highlight them”.
“The boundaries of the nations were not an obstacle to the spread of new deadly diseases such Ebola and Koruna and before them there were bird flu and swine flu in addition to many chronic and prevailing diseases such as AIDS, tuberculosis and cancers which need strenuous efforts to find more effective treatments for them.
Therefore, our conference this year will focus on discussing the latest developments in the pharmaceutical and curative discoveries by the participation of the scientists who won the international awards and other pioneering lecturers in pharmacology. We would not forget the role of the Award in highlighting the institutions and individuals, who provide humanitarian services to the needy, as well as in highlighting and honoring the excellent Arab figures and institutions”, he added.
At the end of his speech he extended to the deepest thanks and gratitude to H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid AL Maktoum for his kindness and love for goodness and giving. “You have given a lot in several fields which have become a matter of pride for every Emirati citizen. Many thanks to Your Highness and we are sincere in serving your noble purposes and lofty mission”, he said.
“I extend many thanks to the Members of the Board of Trustees, chaired by His Excellency Abdul Rahman Al Owais, the Minister of Health. Many thanks also to the Members of the Secretariat General, its committees and everyone contributed to the success of this large event”, Prof AL Khaja added.
H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, the Deputy Ruler of Dubai, the UAE Minister of Finance and the patron of the award crowned the winners and handed them over the trophies. Also, photos were taken for H.H. Sheikh Hamdan with the winners and the members of the Board of Trustees and the scientific committees. 
Prof. Magid Abou Gharbia, USA, received the Grand Hamdan Award on the topic of Drug Discovery.
Concerning Hamdan award for Medical Research Excellence, Prof. Stanley A Plotkin, USA, received the award on the topic of vaccines, Prof. Carl June, USA, and Prof. Olle Ringden, Sweden,  on the topic of cell therapy and Prof. Brian J Druker, USA, on the topic of targeted therapy.
Regarding the Hamdan International Award for Volunteers in Humanitarian Medical Services, the award for the Carter Center, USA, was received by Curtis Kohlhaas, Chief Development Officer of the center. The award for the Noor Dubai Foundation, UAE, was received by Engineer Eissa Al Maidoor, chairman of the board of trustees and Dr. Manal Tarym, the Executive Director of the foundation. Also, Dr. Mads Fredrik Gilbert, from Norway, received the award. On behalf of Dr. Melvin Korkor, Liberia, the award was received by Arun Banchariya, Consul General for the Republic of Liberia to Dubai.
Regarding the Arab World Awards, the Hamdan Award for Medical College/Institute or Centre in the Arab World was received by Prof. Omar Al Rawas, the Dean of the College of Medicine & Health Sciences, Sultan Qaboos University, Sultanate of Oman, and by Prof. Faisal Hentati, the director of the Mongi Ben Hamida National Institute of neurology, Tunisia. 
Also, Hamdan Award for Distinguished Personalities in the Arab World was received by Prof. Mohamed Ghoneim, Egypt, and Dr. Zohair Yousef Al Halees, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Regarding the UAE awards, the Hamdan Award for Outstanding Clinical Department in the Public Sector in the UAE for the Department of Pediatrics, Tawam Hospital, Al Ain, United Arab Emirates, was received by Humaid Al Mansour, Deputy Executive Director of the hospital, and Dr. Aiman Rahmani, the head of the department.
Also, the award for the Cardiology and Cardiothoracic Surgery Centre in Dubai Hospital was received by Dr. Abdul Rahman AL Jasmi, the director of the hospital and Dr. Aref Al Mulla, the director of the center received the award.
Regarding the winners of the Hamdan Award for Honoring Individuals Working in the field of Medicine and Health in the UAE, the sons of the late UAE businessman Abdul Salam Rafie, Mohammed and Fahd, received their father’s award. Also, the 3 other winners were honored namely Dr. Ahmed Abdul Aziz Al Jaziri, Dr. Jamila Al Suwaidi and Dr. Elham Mohamed Al Amiri.
Dr. Sirag Bennaser, UK, received Hamdan Award for Original Research Paper Published in the Hamdan Medical Journal in recognition of his research paper entitled “In vitro interactions between rodent hepatic stellate cells and metastaticand non-metastatic human colorectal cancer cell lines”. 
In conjunction with the award ceremony, the 8th Dubai International Conference for Medical Sciences started its activities today morning (Monday) through 12 workshops held in Al Bustan Rotana Hotel, Dubai. 
The workshops discussed 4 main topics namely; drug discovery, vaccines, cell therapy and targeted therapy, by a galaxy of senior professionals in these fields.
A workshop by Professor Majid Abu Gharbia, United States, the winner of the grand Hamdan Award, discussed drug discoveries: today’s realities and tomorrow’s vision.
Professor Ian Frazer presented a workshop on immunotherapy for squamous cancers. Prof. Frazer is the co-developer of the virus-like particle technology which has become the basis of vaccines to prevent cervical cancer. 
Professor Mustafa Kazem presented a workshop entitled stem cells: from the bench to beside.
Also, Professor Mustafa Hassan from the Karolinska Institute, Sweden, has presented a workshop on the multifunctional for cancer diagnosis and treatment.
Professor Carl John, a winner of Hamdan Award for Medical Research Excellence presented a workshop on combination immunotherapy.
Professor Stanley Plotkin, a winner of Hamdan Award for Medical Research Excellence, discussed vaccine development in the 21st century. It is worthy to mention that the exceptional achievements of Professor Plotkin are not limited to the discovery of the rubella vaccine, but extend to include developing many other vaccines such as those against anthrax and polio.
Professor Wei Duan, one of the top specialists in cancer therapeutics, discussed in his workshop cancer stem cells.
Professor Brian Druker, USA, a winner of Hamdan Award for Medical Research Excellence talked about accelerating the pace of scientific progress.
Professor Harriet Robinson presented a workshop on working towards an Ebola vaccine. It is worthy to mention that Prof. Robinson co-founded the biotech company GeoVax that is specialized in developing HIV/AIDS vaccines.
Also, Dr. Jilles Gosslelin, the Research Director at the French Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the co-inventor of the antiviral drug telbivudine, presented a workshop on nucleoside analogues as cornerstone in anti-viral therapy.
It is worth mentioning that the 8th Dubai International Conference for Medical Sciences will resume its activities during the coming 2 days through 22 lectures with the participation of the winners of the international, Arab world and the UAE awards.