COVID-19: Abu Dhabi Stem Cell Centre invests Dh3.6 million in cutting-edge equipment to fight coronavirus

Abu Dhabi: The Abu Dhabi Stem Cells Centre, ADSCC, has announced the installation of a piece of cutting-edge medical equipment that should help scientists reveal new insights into the COVID-19 virus. The ADSCC, a specialist healthcare centre that focuses on cell therapy, regenerative medicine and research on stem cells, has acquired and installed a Helios Mass Cytometer, which is able to count and classify a sample, cell by cell The cytometer, the only one of its kind in the Middle East, costs Dh3.6 million and is a major investment by the ADSCC in its leading-edge capabilities during the fight against COVID-19. The Helios cytometer will enable scientists at the centre to quickly and accurately profile individual human cells, allowing them to study and monitor a patient’s immune response to the virus, revealing insights about the pandemic from the “patient defense” point of view. <em>“With this tool, the ADSCC can study clinical outcomes and changes in inflammatory or immune function from blood samples of COVID-19 patients,”</em> an ADSCC spokesperson said. <em>“This will allow us to address some of the pressing questions that remain unanswered regarding COVID-19.”</em> Among the answers, scientists are looking for what immunologic features and molecular mechanisms are involved in COVID-19 severity, whether those most at risk of severe symptoms can be identified early, what interventions can help reduce the severity of the illness, and what vaccines may prove most effective. The ADSCC recently announced a breakthrough treatment for patients of COVID-19, which appeared to help the body fight the virus and make the disease less harmful. The treatment involves extracting stem cells from the patient’s own blood and reintroducing them as a nebulising mist after reactivating them. To date the treatment has had a 100 per cent success rate. Staff at the centre are currently receiving training on the operation of the new machine, which they have affectionately dubbed ‘The Lamborghini’. In another development announced today, ADSCC will begin offering Minimal Residual Disease tests for cancer patients – a first in the UAE. The highly specialised test allows physicians to spot residual, potentially-resistant cells that can lead to a relapse in patients. Currently such a test is not available in the UAE and cancer patients have to travel abroad to be tested because the test requires the use of a fresh sample to be accurate. The availability of this test in the UAE represents an important step forward in the treatment and management of cancer, particularly for adults and children suffering from Multiple Myeloma and Leukemia.


Mohamed bin Zayed visits Abu Dhabi Stem Cells Centre

His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, visited the Abu Dhabi Stem Cells Centre (ADSCC), an Abu Dhabi-based specialist healthcare center focused on cell therapy and regenerative medicine, on Thursday. Sheikh Mohamed listened to ADSCC doctors and researchers as they explained about the centre’s role in advancing the efforts of the UAE’s health sector, especially in terms of combatting COVID-19, and its ongoing research to find therapies and advanced solutions for several diseases. The Crown Prince viewed ADSCC’s clinical trial on its COVID-19 stem-cell treatment, as well as its clinical trials to assess innovative treatments for diabetes and multiple sclerosis. Sheikh Mohamed thanked the doctors, researchers and all employees at the centre for their invaluable efforts to ensure public safety during the pandemic, highlighting the UAE’s prioritisation of the healthcare sector and developing its medical industries, in line with its goal to become a leader in these field. <em>”It was a pleasure to meet the team of doctors and researchers at the Abu Dhabi Stem Cells Center who are carrying out advanced research. Their inspiring work is a key part of UAE efforts to offer medical expertise to help eradicate diseases and support human development worldwide,”</em> His Highness Sheikh Mohamed tweeted. The UAE is committed to enhancing partnerships with advanced research centres, especially in medical fields, and is dedicated to sharing its knowledge and expertise towards driving human progress, and to provide aid to all the people who require it, he added. Sheikh Mohamed was accompanied by H.H. Sheikh Hamdan bin Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan; Sheikh Mohammed bin Hamad bin Tahnoun Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Airports; Ali Mohammed Al Shamsi, Deputy Secretary-General of the Supreme National Security Council; and Mohamed Mubarak Al Mazrouei, Undersecretary of the Crown Prince Court of Abu Dhabi.


WHO Director-General commends Abu Dhabi Stem Cells Centre on Covid-19 treatments

Dr Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, director-general of the World Health Organisation (WHO), commended Abu Dhabi Stem Cells Centre (ADSCC) for its cutting-edge Covid-19 treatments. Dr Yendry Ventura, general manager of ADSCC, along with Dr Fatima Al Kaabi, director of the AD-BMT Programme, and the leadership team, welcomed Tedros to ADSCC’s state-of-the-art facility. ADSCC specialises in developing pioneering technology methods for targeted stem cell therapies that rapidly detect, identify, and count specific cells. During the visit, future collaborations in clinical innovation were discussed as ADSCC aims to become the WHO’s first partner in the Middle East. The WHO has led the global effort in combatting Covid-19 and commended ADSCC for providing its cutting-edge stem cell treatment to infected patients. More than 13,800 patients have received "UAE-Cell19" treatment to date. Additionally, ADSCC’s research was referenced in the latest edition of the WHO Therapeutics and Covid-19 Living Guideline issued on December 7, which notes the most up-to-date recommendations for the use of therapeutics in the treatment of Covid-19. ADSCC was also congratulated for contributing to the national testing and vaccination programme as the centre recorded over 14.5 million PCR tests to date. In collaboration with the Department of Health (DoH) and Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (Seha), ADSCC has administered more than 172,600 vaccinations and has provided remote vaccination centres and home visits for vulnerable patients with chronic diseases and the elderly. Dr Tedros and Dr Hawa Al Mansoori, ADSCC executive director of the Department of Intramural Research and Member of the Federal National Council of the UAE, also spoke about the newly announced letter of intent signed between ADSCC and the United States National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The initiative will help to grow research partnerships in response to unique scientific opportunities as they arise between the UAE and the United States.


Interview with Dr. Fatima Mohammed Al Kaabi, Director of ADBMT program, Abu Dhabi Stem Cell Center (ADSCC)

Delivering cutting-edge stem cell research Abu Dhabi Stem Cells Center (ADSCC) prides itself on the personalized journey it can offer patients. The center focuses on patient safety and care with the pursuit of transforming patient lives by using advanced technologies not only for clinical application but also for advanced research. In an interview, Dr. Fatima Mohammed Al Kaabi, Director of ADBMT program, ADSCC, said: “Through our internationally recognized multidisciplinary clinical and research teams; our highly specialized center offers cutting-edge technology in translational medicine. The complete solution for cell therapy can be provided, from harvesting, isolation, characterization, storage, and infusion to delivery. At ADSCC, your treatment is tailored for you through a ‘bench-to-bedside’ approach making it precise and personal for you.” During the peak of the pandemic, Dr. Al Kaabi led a research effort to develop a stem cell treatment for coronavirus symptoms, called UAECell19, patented and developed by ADSCC. The treatment, currently in its clinical trial phase, has proven to alleviate symptoms such as shortness of breath and coughing by extracting COVID-19 stem cells and turning them into a fine mist to be inhaled. Excerpts: <b>What are you showcasing at Arab Health 2022?</b> The first-of-its kind in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) based in Abu Dhabi, ADSCC is a highly specialized healthcare center focused on cell therapy and regenerative medicine technique as well as delivering cutting-edge research on stem cell and cellular therapies in the region. ADSCC was founded in March 2019 to meet growing domestic and regional demand for highly specialized medical services and treatments. ADSCC is equipped with the latest technologies, medical devices, which are unique to the region, and a team of internationally recognized doctors who work hand-in-hand with researchers. <strong>A key theme this year is healthcare transformation. What does healthcare transformation mean to you?</strong> Healthcare transformation to us is focusing our delivery of care towards a patient centric approach which goes with our vision. ADSCC aspires to become the internationally recognized center for treatment and research in cell therapy for the MENA region and the world. It is working towards making personalised care available to the citizens of the UAE, using innovative strategies in cell therapy and regenerative medicine. <strong>To what extent will emerging health technologies such as AI, IoT and big data influence your business priorities?</strong> Technology such as AI is the pivot of change to more accurate precision medicine. We are one of the first using this technology in our centres. Our major areas of focus are pharmacogenomics and imaging. <strong>As the world continues to pull out of the pandemic, are there any challenges still faced by your business, and how are you addressing these?</strong> Challenges are across the nation – we try to mitigate through them by deploying technology in forms of virtual medicine and virtual learning as well. <strong>What will your business be prioritising in ‘post-pandemic’ times?</strong> We focus on our mission – to improve people’s lives worldwide by pioneering cutting-edge research, the clinical application of cell therapy and regenerative medicine techniques in the UAE. <strong>How important is the resumption of international travel to your business?</strong> Since we have a large base of partnership internationally, this is crucial to recover.


ADSCC signs agreement with NIAID of US National Institutes of Health, Department of Health and Human Services

The Abu Dhabi Stem Cell Centre (ADSCC), a specialist healthcare centre focused on cell therapy and regenerative medicine, as well as delivering cutting-edge research science, signed a Letter of Intent (LOI) with the United States National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID), which is part of the National Institutes of Health (NIH). The NIH is an agency within the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS). The NIH is the largest biomedical research agency in the world. The collaborative research anticipated under this LOI is intended to serve as a basis for subsequent research partnerships in response to unique scientific opportunities as they arise between the UAE and the United States. A ceremony to mark the signing of this agreement was held at the Embassy of the United Arab Emirates in Washington, DC. This was attended by dignitaries from both the UAE and the United States. Yousef Manea Al Otaiba, UAE Ambassador to the United States, welcomed the signing of this historic LOI, and stressed the importance of growing strategic partnerships between leading institutions from both countries in order to help drive innovations in the field of healthcare and the development of new treatment technologies. The ceremony was also attended by Dr. Steven M. Holland, Director of the Division of Intramural Research and Chief of the Immunopathogenesis Section at NIAID. The LOI was signed by Dr. Jill R. Harper, NIAID Deputy Director for Science Management and Executive Officer, and Dr. Hawaa Al Thahak Al Mansoori, ADSCC Executive Director of the Department of Intramural Research and Member of the Federal National Council of the UAE. Announcing this historic partnership, Dr. Al Mansoori, said, "As a country we pride ourselves with the legacy we inherited from our forefathers who built this great nation 50 years ago, and layed a strong foundation for the future. It is our duty to continue the journey for the next 50 years in line with the vision of our Leadership. One way we can play a part is to leverage new relationships and innovative collaborations to accelerate progress towards achieving the UAE’s strategic goals. It is a privilege to be part of this effort and I want to express my deepest gratitude for the support of our Leadership." Dr. Al Mansoori also stated, "Our part in this historic collaboration was inspired by the UAE’s vision to leverage technology for the service of humanity. By partnering with the world’s leading biomedical research organisation we can accelerate progress in developing treatments for chronic diseases and support the UAE to realise its national potential to lead specialised biomedical research efforts globally. <em>"This initiative focuses on infectious and non-communicable diseases which represent some of the biggest burdens not just to our part of the world, but across the globe. Our partnership has the potential to deliver transformative breakthroughs to treat diseases like diabetes which can improve the lives of millions of people. As a doctor I hope that within a decade I will be able to tell my patients suffering from Type 1 Diabetes that it is no longer a lifelong burden, but something we can cure."</em>


Fluidigm Partners With Abu Dhabi Stem Cells Center on Therapy Development, Research

Fluidigm said Thursday it has entered a collaboration agreement with the Abu Dhabi Stem Cells Center for the development of targeted stem cell therapies and research applications. The collaboration will use South San Francisco, California-based Fluidigm’s Imaging Mass Cytometry and Maxpar Direct Immune Profiling technologies to analyze the spatial environment of stem cells and profile the immune system in blood samples. ADSCC, based in the United Arab Emirates, will receive early access to reagents and software under development at Fluidigm and evaluate new materials and products. It will also be involved in development of Fluidigm’s Helios and Hyperion Imaging systems, which use CyTOF technology. Fluidigm said the partnership will provide a foundation for expansion of its commercial activities throughout the Middle East. <em>“We seek out the technologies that can most effectively provide meaningful insights as we work to develop new approaches to stem cell therapies, and Fluidigm’s IMC and immune profiling tools are exceptional in this regard,”</em> Yendry Ventura Carmenate, an immunologist and general manager of the ADSCC, said in a statement. <em>“We believe these tools will ultimately accelerate our global expertise in this progressive area of medicine and inform targeted therapies for our patients.”</em> <em>“In addition to elevating the visibility of CyTOF technology in the region, we believe this collaboration will provide opportunities for new products and workflows,”</em> said Chris Linthwaite, Fluidigm’s president and CEO. <em>“For example, we are reviewing panels ADSCC has developed for stem cell applications across a number of pathologies for potential commercialization.”</em> Financial and other terms of the deal were not disclosed.


First-ever bone marrow transplant conducted in UAE

Announcing the first-ever bone marrow transplant successfully conducted in the UAE, the Abu Dhabi Stem Cells Centre (ADSCC) has inaugurated the Abu Dhabi Bone Marrow Transplant programme, AD-BMT. Typically used to treat patients with hematological and oncological illnesses, the bone marrow transplant was performed on a patient with multiple myeloma, a form of blood cancer, a WAM report said. Though cancer is the third-highest cause of death in the UAE, Emirati citizens and residents have often sought treatment abroad for cell therapy and regenerative medicine. The successful transplant, which was the result of collaboration between ADSCC and Sheikh Khalifa Medical City, represents a groundbreaking advancement for cancer patients living in the UAE who can now seek treatment closer to home to remain with family. Bone marrow transplants, or hematopoietic stem cell transplantation, are one of the most established stem cell-based therapies in the treatment of cancer, particularly blood cancers. The unique treatment procedure developed by ADSCC, involved harvesting peripheral blood stem cells from the patient, who then underwent high-dose chemotherapy to eradicate all cancerous cells and most of the bone marrow. The harvested stem cells were then infused back into the bloodstream, where they restore the destroyed cells and over the course of two weeks restart the production of healthy non-malignant blood cells. <em>"The patient is basically without an immune system while waiting for the transfused cells to take effect and must remain in isolation under the strictest infection control guidelines,"</em> said Dr Yendry Ventura, General Manager of ADSCC and BMT Programme Director. <em>"Since we are still in the midst of a global pandemic, we took additional precautions to ensure the best outcome possible for all involved."</em> Earlier last month, ADSCC announced the results of the trial of its breakthrough treatment for COVID-19 patients, branded UAECell19, demonstrating its remarkable safety and efficacy. UAECell19 went on to secure three levels of intellectual property protection in recognition of its originality and novel medical application. Moreover, the announcement of the Abu Dhabi Bone Marrow Transplant programme demonstrates ADSCC’s continued commitment to delivering state-of-the-art and evidence-based services to the UAE market, including an array of stem cell therapies. It aims to make the BMT treatment available to all patients in the UAE who require it. <em>"It fills us with great pride to be part of a first for the country and to make such a life-saving treatment available and accessible to those who need it here," said Dr Fatima Alkaabi, BMT Executive Director. "We are very grateful for the support and collaboration of SKMC in making this opportunity possible."</em> ADSCC was founded with the primary objective of meeting growing domestic and regional demand for advanced medical services and most innovative treatments in the UAE. ADSCC is committed to ensuring the Abu Dhabi Bone Marrow Transplant programme meets the highest standards of quality and patient satisfaction at all steps of the process, including treatment, aftercare, and follow-up between clinical BMT personnel, patients, and their families.-- Tradearabia News Service


UAEU, Abu Dhabi Stem Cells Centre sign MoU to support collaboration in clinical education

The United Arab Emirates University College of Medicine and Health Sciences (CMHS-UAEU) today signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with Abu Dhabi Stem Cells Centre (ADSCC), to enhance cooperation in areas of health education, scientific research, and health care. As part of the MoU, the institutions will develop updated, evidence-based, clinical education programs comprising undergraduate tutorials, classes and courses as well as in-depth training programs for post-graduate students. Subjects such as Stem Cell Biology, Stem Cell Therapy, Genetics, Cancer Immunology, amongst others, will be covered. The MoU further covers joint research initiatives as well as opportunities for joint placements at CMHS-UAEU and ADSCC, including the appointment or promotion of eligible ADSCC physicians to the appropriate Adjunct (Clinical) Professorial rank at CMHS-UAEU. The parties also agreed to provide joint seminars, conferences, workshops, training programs and other academic and professional events and activities to support the continuing education of clinicians. The MoU was signed by Prof. Dr. Juma Al Kaabi, Acting Dean of CMHS-UAEU, and Dr. Yendry Ventura, Specialist in Immunology and General Manager of ADSCC. Prof. Dr. Juma Al Kaabi commented, "CMHS-UAEU is one of the leading medical institutions in the UAE and the region, and the college has made significant scientific and medical contributions throughout the years, where great value was added to the UAE medical community. "Today with the signing of the MoU with ADSCC, we aspire to join forces in this area of stem cell Research and therapy. We began our partnership during the early days of COVID-19 and today we are establishing collaboration to bring new therapies and advances in research to the UAE and on an international scale." Dr. Yendry Ventura said, "We are proud to have reached this significant milestone with CMHS-UAE - a research-intensive university and our prestigious, strategic partner - in our joint pursuit to provide academic advancement in this innovative field. Such partnerships are instrumental in providing a foundation for academic study and research today, while also inspiring and encouraging our students to contribute to the long-term growth of the field in the UAE."


ADSCC successfully completes first experiment to manufacture ‘CAR T-Cells in UAE’

Abu Dhabi Stem Cells Centre (ADSCC) has successfully completed the first experiment of its kind in the UAE to locally manufacture CAR T-Cells in a laboratory. The UAE is now one step closer to beginning clinical trials to prove the safety and effectiveness of CAR T-Cell therapy in treating hematologic cancers. Dr Yendry Ventura Carmenate, Specialist in Immunology, General Manager of ADSCC and Principal Investigator of the CAR T-Cell clinical trial, said, “During our 12-days experiment, we are happy to report that we have successfully manufactured and expanded autologous CAR T-cells from a healthy volunteer in partnership with Miltenyi Biotec. Most significantly, we have been able to achieve the cells’ expansion with the highest levels of quality control and productivity, attaining a higher-than-average cell count with no contamination. “This is a highly encouraging result as it demonstrates that it is possible to efficiently manufacture CAR T-cells that exceed acceptable standards of purity, viability and cell dosage for clinical application.” In this first experiment, researchers at ADSCC combined their in-house expertise with cutting-edge technology to closely monitor, synthesise, and facilitate the rapid yield of functional CAR T-Cells. At this initial stage, the primary objective was to validate the technology and ensure standardisation as the homegrown research institute prepares to enter the next stage of clinical trials. Dr. Fatema Al Kaabi, Director of the Abu Dhabi Bone Marrow Transplant Programme and Co-Principal Investigator of the CAR T-Cell clinical trial, commented, “This amazing result was achieved through the effective combination of our leading team of stem cell researchers and technicians at ADSCC and the highly specialised technology and know-how provided by our partners at Miltenyi Biotec. We are entering an exciting phase in our journey to build the UAE’s first CAR T-Cell treatment programme and give hope to patients suffering from various hematologic cancers. We look forward to sharing more progress updates as we prepare to enter clinical trials.” CAR (Chimeric antigen receptor) T-Cell therapy represents a new, internationally recognised form of immunotherapy that harnesses the body’s defence system by reprogramming T-Cells, a crucial component in the body’s anti-tumour response, to go on search-and-destroy missions to kill cancer. These reprogrammed cells become a living drug that mobilises through the body, continually tapping the immune system to attack disease. Founded in 2019, ADSCC was established with the primary objective of meeting growing domestic and regional demand for advanced medical services and the most innovative treatments. ADSCC is focused on delivering cutting edge research on stem cells in the region with the highest standards of quality and patient satisfaction at every step in the process, including treatment and follow-up for personnel, patients, and their families.