London: H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, Supreme Council Member and Ruler of Sharjah,and his wife, Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Founder and Royal Patron of the Friends of Cancer Patients (FoCP), Friday, inaugurated the ‘Sharjah Laboratory’ at the Francis Crick Institute in London.
The Sharjah Lab is part of the Francis Crick Institute, the largest biomedical research centre under one roof in Europe and one of the most important of its kind in the world. It will house 1,250 leading scientists from a variety of disciplines working together to understand why diseases develop and find new ways to prevent and treat non-communicable diseases (NCDs), including cancer.
H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi praised the efforts made by scientists and researchers to come up with effective therapies for diseases affecting societies across the world. H.H. underlined that these efforts must be purely for human benefit, free of financial incentives or economic objectives, in order to protect people from the diseases that claim their lives and hamper their involvement in the development and wellbeing of their communities.
The ruler of Sharjah underlined that the Sharjah Laboratory will serve as a scientific beacon that will utilise and invest its research capacity to find the underlying causes of serious non-communicable diseases, cancer in particular. He stressed that Sharjah will support the laboratory, not only financially, but also with highly qualified human resources that are able to realise its objectives.
Sheikha Jawaher bint Mohammed Al Qasimi emphasised that science moves at an ever-increasing pace and each day we see new possibilities and new research that may help us beat cancer, giving us reason to be optimistic, but we can never be complacent. His Highness stressed that ongoing unified support and funding is essential to make sure this research progresses, and gives us the best chance to rid the world of so many horrific diseases and that we are all integral to the future of global health.
Sheikh Sultan Al Qasimi and Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi were received by Sir Harpal Kumar, Chief Executive of Cancer Research UK, and Julian Downward, Associate Research Director at the Francis Crick Institute, who is also the professor in charge of the Sharjah Laboratory, in addition to a number of directors and specialists at the institute and the British Association for Cancer Research.
As an International Ambassador of the World Cancer Declaration for the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and International Ambassador for Childhood Cancer for UICC, Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi plays a vital role in cross-cultural efforts to fight the disease internationally. Sheikha Jawaher underlined the importance of supporting and funding NCDs and cancer research.
The Sharjah laboratory, which is part of the Francis Crick Institute, was fully funded by Sheikha Jawaher who donated half a million pounds to the Cancer Research UK to support its work and help to train human resources in order for them to move into a new phase of the treatment of NCDs and curb their prevalence.
The donation comes as part of Sheikha Jawaher’s nonstop efforts to support programmes, initiatives and action plans to improve treatment for non-communicable diseases, including cancer. The Francis Crick Institute is run by 1,250 scientists and researchers as well as 250 executives representing 70 countries from across the world.
“Over the past hundred years, we have seen that science has unlimited horizons. Diseases that once plagued populations can now be easily treated or even prevented, and we need to do the same for cancer. We are confident that this can be achieved through science, as long as we continue to support innovative medical research. And if we do so, NCDs and cancers will be easily treated, saving millions of lives and substantial state budgets,” Sheikha Jawaher said.
Sheikha Jawaher underlined the importance of promoting a culture of early detection and follow up, and that the research and treatment of diseases not only benefits the present generation, it is also an investment in the health of our children, and their children to come: “A healthy society is the cornerstone of any civilisation and the progress of any nation. There is a need to alleviate the pain and suffering of those individuals who are affected by non-communicable diseases and also the communities to which they belong.”
“Facing NCDs requires an effective and dynamic movement on several levels, including meetings, events and conferences related to research that discuss ways to limit the occurance of these diseases and raise community awareness, “she added.
Referring to Sharjah’s continuing contribution to the fight against NCDs, Sheikha Jawaher said: “Sharjah’s efforts to combat NCDs set a leading model to be emulated by other countries in the world. The emirate launched the ‘Sharjah Declaration on Non-Communicable Diseases towards 2030’, which was endorsed by 230 international experts. It will also host the Second Global Non-Communicable Disease Alliance Forum, which is scheduled to take place from 9-11, December 2017.
Sir Harpal said: “We were delighted to welcome H.H. Dr. Sheikh Sultan bin Mohammed Al Qasimi, and Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi to the Francis Crick Institute, one of the world’s leading biomedical research institutes situated in the heart of London. Their Highnesses generous support of ‘The Sharjah Laboratory’ will ultimately help benefit cancer patients all over the world. We all understand that cancer is a global crisis requiring global solutions, and that no country or organisation can beat the disease on its own. We look forward to working together in the future and sharing best practice to improve the lives of people impacted by cancer in both our countries and across the world.”
During the visit, the Sharjah royals attended the signing of a cooperation agreement between the Friends of Cancer Patients and Cancer Research UK. The agreement was signed by Sawsan Jafar, President of Friends of Cancer Patients Board of Directors, and Sir Harpal.
They also toured the ?650 million institute, adjacent to the British Library, where Sheikh Sultan Al Qasimi and Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi inspected its various sections and facilities spreading over 1 million square feet. During her visit, Sheikh Dr. Sultan Al Qasimi and Sheikha Jawaher met with scientists and researchers at the institute, named after the British scientist who co-discovered the structure of DNA, and expressed her appreciation of their efforts and commended them on their hard work and dedication. Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi also invited them to attend the second Global Non-Communicable Disease Alliance Forum in Sharjah in December 2017.
They were accompanied by Sawsan Jafar, President of Friends of Cancer Patients Board of Directors, Noura Al Noman, Chairperson of the Executive Office of Sheikha Jawaher Al Qasimi, Dr Sawsan Al Madhi, Director General of FoCP, and Reem BinKaram, Director of NAMA Women Advancement Establishment.