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Hamdan Medical Award conducts webinar on Gastroenterology 09 November 2021
Dubai-9th November 2021: The Sheikh Hamdan Bin Rashid Al Maktoum Award for ‎Medical Sciences held its third webinar in its webinar series yesterday, Monday, ‎November 8, 2021. The webinar discussed the topic of Gastroenterology, and ‎was attended by 300 participants from all over the world.‎
The webinar hosted a talk from Prof. Sanford Markowitz, Ingalls Professor of ‎Cancer Genetics- Distinguished University Professor - Case Western Reserve ‎University- USA and winner of the Hamdan Award for Medical Research ‎Excellence. The webinar was moderated by Dr. Adnan Abuhammour, Chairman of ‎the Medrise Medical Center and Member of the Board of Directors of the Dubai ‎Healthcare City Authority.‎
Prof. Sanford spoke about biomarkers-based detection of Barrett's oesophagus ‎without the use of endoscopy to prevent oesophageal adenocarcinoma. He ‎specifically talked about his research that led to the Molecular Colonoscopy ‎method to detect DNA methylation of the vimentin gene in stool, and its use as a ‎biomarker to diagnose colon cancer instead of gastrointestinal endoscopy.
He also ‎talked about the possibility of using a similar technique in other parts of the ‎digestive system, such as the oesophagus. He pointed out the importance of early ‎diagnosis and control of the predisposing factors and pathological conditions that ‎lead to the development of oesophageal cancer, such as the Barrett's oesophagus, ‎which shows tissue abnormalities resulting from many causes, including constant ‎gastroesophageal reflux. He also talked about the challenges of diagnosing ‎Barrett's oesophagus using endoscopy, which in addition to being a completely ‎unpopular diagnostic method for patients, also does not detect approximately ‎‎90% of Barrett's oesophagus cases.‎
He worked with his team to come up with a proper use of the molecular cytology ‎techniques as biological markers to diagnose chromosomal anomalies and ‎neoplastic formations in the oesophageal cells without using the gastro ‎oesophageal endoscopy, thus providing better opportunities for preventing these ‎cases from developing Barrett’s oesophagus into oesophageal cancer.‎
He also talked about the technology, both the device that is engineered to collect ‎the samples (the oesophageal brushings) from the oesophagus without using the ‎endoscopy, and then assessing the methylated DNA as a molecular biomarker to ‎detect tissue defects in Barrett's oesophagus, and to classify the extent of ‎anomalies, and detection of cancer cells development. It is an effective, ‎convenient and time-saving method which does not require anaesthesia, and is ‎relatively cheap compared to gastrointestinal endoscopy.‎
He mentioned that it is possible to assess the severity of Barrett's oesophagus, ‎with more sensitive molecular monitoring for early detection of cancer ‎development, thereby preventing over diagnosis and overtreatment of low-risk ‎patients, given the existing challenges in improving the detection of cancerous ‎progression in collected samples.‎
It is worth noting that the 4th webinar in the series will be held on December 14, ‎‎2021, and will be presented by Professor Frederick Kaplan, winner of Grand ‎Hamdan International Award - Musculoskeletal Disorders 2017-2018.‎