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Mohamed bin Zayed offers grant to ‘Harvard Stem Cell Institute’

Abu Dhabi, 8th February, 2022 (WAM) — His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, has announced a financial grant towards the Douglas Melton Laboratory at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute, to bolster research focusing on accelerating gene editing approaches for pancreatic beta cell replacement therapy.

The grant comes as part of His Highness’ global health initiative "Reaching the Last Mile," which works to end diseases and strengthen health systems. To encourage progress in the disease elimination agenda, Reaching the Last Mile supports the development of innovative research and technology.

This commitment to the Harvard Stem Cell Institute is another step in the initiative’s long-standing ethos of forging enduring relationships that work to achieve sustainable change, backed by a belief in building a future that ensures stability, promotes dignity and encourages inclusion for all.

According to the World Health Organisation, about 422 million people worldwide have diabetes, and 1.6 million deaths are directly attributed to diabetes each year. The number of cases and the prevalence of diabetes have been steadily increasing over the past few decades.

"The promising results we’ve seen with stem cell-derived islet cells could deliver a life-changing therapy for people who suffer from the relentless life-long burden of type 1 diabetes. These results were possible due to the long-term effort of students and our team at the Harvard Stem Cell Institute to convert human pluripotent stem cells into insulin-producing beta cells, hence making an inexhaustible supply of implantable cells," said Dr. Douglas Melton, who is the Xander University Professor of Stem Cell and Regenerative Biology at Harvard University and the Co-Director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute.

Dr. Melton continued, "The biotech industry has further advanced this work to industrialise the process and test the results in a clinical trial, , the first results from which were recently reported and are quite encouraging. The next challenge for us is to protect the transplanted beta cells from the recipient’s immune rejection. If our strategies are successful, this will lead to a future where beta cell therapy becomes the standard treatment for patients with diabetes."

"In the UAE we strongly believe in collaboration and advancement. This commitment to the Harvard Stem Cell Institute is an opportunity to join their mission to develop breakthrough advances in medicine," said H.H. Sheikh Theyab bin Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Chairman of Abu Dhabi Crown Prince Court. "It is only through daring innovation that we can find new solutions to critical issues and help fulfill our commitment to advancing health and improving life for people around the globe."

This collaboration will also provide an opening to two Emirati research fellows to join the Douglas Melton Lab, with the opportunity to take part in research and work to develop a breakthrough cure for diabetes.

Dr. Fatima Al Kaabi, Executive Director of the Abu Dhabi Bone Marrow Transplant programme at the Abu Dhabi Stem Cell Centre, stated, "The opportunity for two Emiratis to join the Melton Lab as research fellows will be a cultural and academic enrichment to all those involved. For the selected individuals to not only partake in this research, but also learn from the Lab and be under the sponsorship of a principal investigator will be an invaluable experience.

"We are looking forward to appointing the best individuals from our talented pool of academics, which we hope can help the team accelerate their research in finding a cure for type 1 diabetes."

Type 1 diabetes is caused by the absence of insulin-producing beta cells, which are destroyed by the immune system through mechanisms that are still not known. While patients can manage diabetes, there is currently no cure. The first milestone project to be funded under the commitment of His Highness will be making beta cells that evade immune elimination. Further milestones include identifying the immune cells responsible for rejecting transplanted stem cell (SC)-derived beta cells, which will allow the ability to pinpoint the immune cells that start and continue the immune attack and devise ways to eliminate them, and finally, modelling SC-islets for human transplantation.

This ambitious programme will allow SC-islets to survive and function for years following transplantation into diabetics, effectively curing them of the disease.

JDRF further headlines the research programme, the leading global organisation funding type 1 diabetes (T1D) research, who in 2021 launched the JDRF Centre of Excellence in New England, a cross-institutional collaboration between leading Massachusetts-based experts.

Together with strategic partners around the globe, JDRF accelerates T1D cures through initiatives that encourage collaboration, inspire innovation, leverage resources, and engage emerging talent. The JDRF Centers of Excellence elevate these efforts, serving as central pillars of JDRF’s broader strategy to pursue cures for T1D.

Esther Latres, Assistant Vice President of Research at JDRF, said, "Beta-cell replacement therapy is at the forefront of potential cures for type 1 diabetes and a flagship program at JDRF. JDRF appreciates the Crown Prince Court of Abu Dhabi's support towards the scientific efforts of the JDRF Centre of Excellence and Dr. Melton. We welcome the new research fellows and look forward to advancing breakthrough strategies to protect highly functional insulin-producing cells from immune rejection."

To mark the launch of this relationship, a virtual seminar was held on 7th February 2022, highlighting the work being pursued through the grant, as well as highlighting the value of the fellowship to the wider ecosystem. The Harvard Stem Cell Institute seminar will feature Dr. Melton and representatives from HSCI and the Abu Dhabi Stem Cell Centre.

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Dubai Police warns against Leaving Children Unattended in Vehicles

36 children have been rescued since January 2022

 The Dubai Police General Command has issued an advisory to parents and motorists on the deadly consequences of leaving children unattended inside vehicles, especially during hot weather, when temperatures can reach 70°C in parked vehicles.

The Land Rescue Teams at the General Department of Transport and Rescue confirmed that since the beginning of the current year (2022), 36 children had been rescued from locked vehicles which had posed a severe threat to their lives.

The Dubai Police urged parents and children guardians never to leave children alone unattended inside cars either by mistake or to run errands, even for a short period, noting that failing to protect and ensure children’s safety is punishable by the Federal Law No. 3 of 2016 on Child Rights.

Butti Al Falasi, Director of the Security Awareness Department at Dubai Police, confirmed that Dubai Police works tirelessly to analyze and tackle all safety and security-related issues all year round.

“We’ve spotted, on several occasions, parental negligence that thoughtlessly leaves children unattended inside cars either by mistake or to run errands unaware of the grave danger,” he added.

“Moreover, we urge parents and guardians not to leave their vehicles easily accessible and unlocked for children, so they do not climb into and lock themselves inside,” he continued.

It is worth noting that leaving children unattended inside vehicles could lead to suffocation, loss of consciousness and even death because of extreme heat and lack of oxygen.



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Do you know the man in the picture?

Dubai Police are seeking the public’s assistance in identifying the man in the picture.

The man, who was found dead in the jurisdiction area of Al Raffa Police Station, had no identification documents on him, and no one has reported him missing yet.

The body is currently at the General Department of Forensic Science and Criminology to determine the cause of death.

Any information to help identify the deceased can be forwarded to the Dubai Police Call Centre (04)901.

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Mohammed bin Rashid: UAE’s non-oil foreign trade rises to more than AED one trillion in the first half of 2022

UAE- Abu Dhabi – 22 August 2022- His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai affirmed that the UAE’s non-oil trade achieved a breakthrough during the first half of 2022, as it exceeded AED one trillion, recording a growth rate of 17% over the last half of the year 2021.

His Highness said: “For the first time, the UAE Non-oil foreign trade exceeds AED one trillion in just half a year.. We reached one trillion and 53 billion dirhams, recording an increase of 17% over the previous half year.


 Our economic growth is progressive, our trade environment and infrastructure are the best and our economic approach is stable, fair and open to everyone… The growth of our economy will continue its strong pace in the coming year.”


The UAE’s non-oil foreign trade recorded a new achievement in the first half of this year, amounting to one trillion and 53 billion dirhams, for the first time in its history. This number reflects a growth rate of 17% compared to the first half of 2021, and an increase of 25% and 35% compared to the same period in the years of 2020 and 2019 respectively.

These numbers reaffirm the success of the UAE’s strategic directions and visions in accelerating a full recovery after the overcome of the negative repercussions of the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic on international trade.

H.E. Abdulla Bin Touq Al Marri, the UAE Minister of Economy, said that UAE is working nonstop to enhance its regional and global leadership and its position at the heart of the global trade networks by adopting commercial and economic openness and strengthening its infrastructure and legislative framework.

Bin Touq added that this outcome marks the beginning of an unprecedented phase of economic development in the history of the country, and it is the result of the integrated efforts and initiatives announced by the UAE government as part of the “Projects of the 50.”





H.E. Dr. Thani bin Ahmed Al Zeyoudi, Minister of State for Foreign Trade, said: “The unprecedented performance demonstrated by the non-oil foreign trade can be attributed to the forward-looking vision of the wise leadership, which aims to expand the UAE’s trade with the world and position it as a major contributor to the doubling of the national economy by 2030.”

H.E. also explained that this achievement came as a result of the forward-looking plans and various initiatives undertaken by the UAE to develop and diversify its exports had a significant impact in achieving this record growth in trade performance in just six months.

During the first half of 2022, the UAE’s non-oil exports, achieved about AED 180 billion for the first time in its history. Recording a growth rate of 8% compared to the same period in 2021, an increase of 53% compared to the first half of 2020, 50 % compared to the same period in 2019, and a growth rate of 69% with the same period of 2018. It nearly doubled compared to what it had recorded during the same period in 2017.

In terms of re-export, the UAE recorded unprecedented achievement during the first half of 2022. It approached the barrier of AED 300 billion for the first time in its history. The results showed a high growth rates compared to previous years, as they increased by 20%, 51%, 16% and 23% compared to same periods in 2021 2020, 2019, and 2018, respectively.

Also, the UAE’s imports increased by approaching the barrier of AED 580 billion during the first half of 2022, for the first time in its history as well. It recorded a growth of 19% compared to the same period in 2021, 49% compared to the same period of 2020, 24% compared to the first half of 2019, and 25% compared to the same period in 2018.

On the other hand, the contribution of imports from the UAE’s non-oil trade, has decreased to 55%, while the share of non-oil exports became 17%. In addition, the share of re-exports reached 28%.

These results reveal that national exports have achieved great growth and remarkable activity, which increased its contribution to the country’s non-oil trade.

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