The Roche Column

Region’s healthcare leaders gather in Dubai to learn latest developments in diagnostics

The 4th annual “Roche Days” medical conference brought together more than 300 medical experts to exchange knowledge, and discuss challenges and solutions in diagnostics – focusing on serology, cardiovascular diseases, and women’s health.

Improving turnaround time for laboratory results, testing for imminent heart attacks and detecting cervical cancer are just some of the important topics discussed at the 4th annual Roche Days conference. Roche Days, presented by Roche Diagnostics Middle East, is a platform for key opinion leaders throughout the region. More than 300 of the region’s medical experts in the in-vitro diagnostics (IVD) industry in the Middle East were hosted from 11-13 March 2017.

The conference was inaugurated by Sheikha Rasha Al Qassimi, Phd, Food Science & Technology (UK) and Assistant Director General of Public Health and Central Laboratories, Sharjah Municipality, assisted by Harald Wolf, General Manager, Roche Diagnostics Middle East. Roche Days was held as part of Roche Diagnostics’ commitment to providing continued medical education and highlighting regional expertise to share knowledge and discuss challenges as well as solutions in diagnostics particularly in the areas of cardiovascular diseases and women’s health, such as cervical cancer, and laboratory automation.

“Through our Roche Days, we were able to cascade the many benefits of laboratory automation in the industry and allow for cross-border collaboration to bring together the brightest minds in the region to discuss challenges and solutions. We live in a fast-paced period when technology continues to bring greater benefits for us. Roche Diagnostics leads the way in invitro diagnostics in terms of research and innovation to provide the broadest range of laboratory solutions which dramatically improve turnaround time for tests and results, provide efficiency, quality and safety,” said Mr. Wolf.

A focus of this year’s Roche Days was on laboratory automation and more efficient laboratory procedures to release diagnostic information to physicians faster while also reducing error and sample contamination. With automation, Dr Amid Abdelnour, Chief Executive Officer, Biolab, Jordan, noted that a remarkable increase in patient safety as well as productivity and capacity are being observed with the implementation of automation in laboratories.

Innovations in diagnostics also paved the way for testing heart attacks faster with more precise and reliable results. It is estimated that 23.6 million people will die by 2030 from cardiovascular diseases and accurate early detection and intervention is crucial. With high-sensitivity assays, doctors are now able to improve the speed of detection of myocardial injury and can help identify risks associated with cardiovascular diseases and predict adverse outcomes.

Dr Rabih Azar, Professor of Medicine, St. Joseph University, Chief of Cardiology Research, Division of Cardiology, Hotel Dieu de France Hospital, Lebanon, noted that with available high-sensitivity tests, a safe and rapid diagnosis can be done within one hour of observation, which is faster than the usual 3-6 hours of observation using the conventional diagnostic approach. This was discussed extensively during the acute coronary diseases panel session, which included Dr Laila Abdel-Wareth of Cleveland Clinic Abu Dhabi, among others.

In terms of women’s health, cervical cancer remains a challenge across the region due to lack of awareness among women and, until recently, the lack of a specific diagnostics tests or screening. While cervical cancer is preventable, although around 500,000 new cases worldwide are diagnosed every year. However, with the advanced diagnostic tools available, doctors can now detect cervical cancer early and prevent progression of the disease.

To this end, Dr Hisham Shams, Group Medical Director at Alborg Medical Laboratories, Saudi Arabia, brought to light new tools and new thinking in addressing cervical cancer. The past limitations on cervical cytology have been replaced with improved methods to detect the presence of Human Papillomavirus (HPV), the principal cause of cervical cancer in women. Using HPV molecular diagnostics instead of the conventional methods, the sensitivity of detection is increased by 50%.

“The conference provided a platform to change the view of diagnostics being just a tool for diagnosis. From prevention to monitoring, diagnostics is now an integral part of decision making along the healthcare continuum,” said Mr. Wolf.


Date of upload: 11th May 2017  

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