King Saud University’s Sheikh Mohammed Bin Hussein Al Amoudi Diabetes Genetic Chair was established to combat the growing problem of diabetes in Gulf countries by consolidating pathogen research in Saudi Arabia.
The disease has reached epidemic proportions, with studies confirming that 24.3 percent of Saudis are diabetic. Diabetes is a major health problem worldwide, with the toll estimated at more than 300 million.
Genetic factors and the Saudi’s changing lifestyle are major factors in the spread of diabetes. Observation of these factors will help provide a better understanding of the disease, especially because societies – the Saudi society in particular -- have strong family ties which facilitate the research.
The Chair’s goals are to seek an understanding of how genes are inherited, modified, expressed and regulated; to facilitate collaboration among researchers in various disciplines; and to train future generations of scientists in the field.
The Chair strives to define the human gene pool responsible for both Type 1 (which afflicts a person from birth) and Type 2 (adult-onset) diabetes. This will be carried out through the study of the human genome in Saudi society and by consolidating advanced genetics research in the Kingdom.
Specifically, the Chair will:
1. Study the human genome implicated in diabetes and pinpoint the area or areas responsible for acquiring Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, ultimately them to pancreatic dysfunctions.
2. Pinpoint the genes implicated in chronic diabetes complications, such as neuropathy and dysfunctions in the retina, kidneys and blood vessels.
3. Involve students in graduate programs in the study of chromosomes that cause diabetes or its complications.
4. Consolidate pathogenic research in various locations in the Kingdom by attracting top scientists and researchers active in this field.
The Chair’s accomplishments:
*Workshops including one on genetics with the principal diabetes research group in King Abdulaziz University hospital (April 1, 2009); The genetic and family effect on diabetes among Saudis (June 5, 2009, Lille University); Consanguineous marriages and their implication in Type 2 diabetes in Saudi Arabia, (Jan. 3, 2010, with the Riyadh Diabetes Club); Use of bioinformatics to study the human exome, with the principal diabetes research group in King Abdulaziz University hospital (April 3, 2010).
*Participation in the first Saudi Diabetes Genome Symposium and a workshop on the genetic effect of diabetes in Saudi Arabia. The Chair is preparing for the second Saudi Diabetes Genome Symposium and the World Diabetes Conference.
*Publication of brochures on genetics in diabetes and using bioinformatics to study human exomes, a booklet on the genetics effect in diabetes and a poster on the effect of genetics in the spread of Type 2 diabetes.
*Since March 28, 2009, the Chair has partnered with Lille University in France on research and has a service contract with Professor Philippe Froguel, Director of the National Center for Scientific Research at Lille University.