ARICE program – as a cornerstone of precision medicine at the World Innovation Summit for Health

Professor Karine Sargsyan, a graduate of Yerevan State Medical University after Mkhitar Heratsi, a Visiting Professor of Medical Genetics at YSMU, President of ESBB (European, Middle Eastern & African Society for Biopreservation and Biobanking), managing director for International Biobanking and Education, Medical University of Graz, and an ARICE expert; and Doctor Zisis Kozlakidis, Head of laboratory services and biobanking at IARC/WHO (International Agency for Research on Cancer/World Health Organization), EU ARICE expert, made speeches at the World Innovation Summit for Health (WISH) 2022 in Qatar.

It is noteworthy that the world-famous Armenian professor, YSMU Honorary Doctor, Co-Director of the Institute of Global Health Innovation at Imperial College London who also holds the Paul Hamlyn Chair of Surgery at Imperial College London and the Institute of Cancer Research, is the Executive Chair of the World Innovation Summit for Health in Qatar. And Noubar Afeyan, the famous biotechnologist, YSMU Honorary Doctor, co-founder of the "Aurora" humanitarian initiative, co-founder and chairman of the board of “Moderna” company, is one of the keynote speakers.

Dr. Zisis Kozlakidis explained what precision medicine is and how it benefits the population and healthcare systems to get prepared for any medical situation. “Precision medicine provides valuable inputs with the help of data collected through biobanks and help healthcare systems reach solutions. We have several such examples especially during the COVID-19 pandemic,” he noted, referring to the ARICE program in Armenia as a successful example and a cornerstone of precision medicine. ARICE is being implemented in the field of oncology in Armenia with EU support. As a result of the program a biobank will be established in accordance with European standards.

According to Prof. Karine Sargsyan, the percentage of cancer cases in Armenia is high, and it is important to take into account local characteristics, because oncological diseases are not equally distributed among people. "Therefore, we need local standardized infrastructures, thanks to which both personalized and precision diagnosis and treatment will become possible," the ESBB President emphasized.

It should be noted that among the speakers of the panel discussion “Fulfilling the Promise of Precision Medicine: The Essential Role of Biobanks” at the World Innovation Summit for Health were Dr. Nahla Maher Afifi, Director Qatar Biobank, Qatar Foundation; and Dr. Alison Parry-Jones, Operations Director, Wales Cancer Biobank.