Jan 18, 2023

Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City Inaugurates a Dedicated Clinical Trials Unit

  • In partnership with Mayo Clinic, SSMC opens a dedicated Clinical Trials Unit to set a new benchmark for innovative research and development in the UAE
  • The inauguration comes in line with DoH’s ongoing efforts to enable the healthcare sector to expand R&D operations in the Emirate and elevate the sector’s outcomes
  • SSMC’s Clinical Trials Unit will conduct complex research and trials focused on key disease areas like Neurology, Cardiology and Oncology

Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City (SSMC), one of the UAE’s largest hospitals for serious and complex care and a joint-venture partnership between Mayo Clinic and Abu Dhabi Health Services Company (SEHA), launched today one of the most advanced Clinical Trials Units in Abu Dhabi. By conducting research on areas with unmet medical needs, the Unit will help the UAE respond to pressing local health challenges, contributing to a more sustainable health care system and supporting the ongoing efforts to position Abu Dhabi as a leading life-science research and innovation hub.

In the presence of H.E. Abdulla bin Mohamed Al Hamed, Chairman of the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH), a delegation from the Department witnessed the inauguration, including H.E. Dr. Jamal Al Kaabi, Undersecretary of DoH.

The newly inaugurated specialist Unit will be led by a dedicated team of researchers set to conduct cutting-edge research and complex trials to help reduce the impact of some of the greatest health care challenges in Neurology, Rheumatology, Hematology, Oncology, Cardiology, Ophthalmology, Gastroenterology and Pediatrics. SSMC’s researchers will also collaborate with national research institutions across the country, including hospitals and universities in the UAE.

H.E Dr. Jamal Al Kaabi, Undersecretary of the Department of Health, said: “Under the directives of the UAE’s wise leadership, we are proud to witness Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City lead the way of complex research and trials from the heart of Abu Dhabi. Supported by the Department of Health, the inauguration comes in line with DoH’s ongoing efforts to enable the healthcare sector to expand R&D operations in the Emirate and elevate the sector’s outcomes. Reinforcing Abu Dhabi’s position as a leading destination for life sciences, we are confident that this milestone will fruit innovative solutions and expose insights to some of the most pressing healthcare challenges.”

Through localizing research, SSMC’s team of researchers will be able to address the immediate and future needs of the UAE’s population and help optimize processes and standards when it comes to delivering care. Looking towards the future, the Unit is also set to provide greater opportunities for local and regional researchers, helping to develop the next generation of doctors aspiring to pursue medical research.

Dr. Naser Ammash, Chief Executive Officer of SSMC, said: “As part of SSMC’s three shield vision with clinical practice, research and education being interlocked disciplines working together to find definitive solutions to unmet patients’ needs, research is a fundamental pillar that brings new discoveries to the bedside and adds value to the local health care ecosystem. The groundbreaking launch of our Clinical Trials Unit illustrates our commitment to investing in research and finding new and innovative ways to treat our patients and respond to the region’s most concerning health challenges today and in the future. This would not be possible without our partnership with Abu Dhabi’s Department of Health and Mayo Clinic.”

Dr. Shahrukh Hashmi, Acting Medical Director of Research at SSMC, said: “Research is a distinguishing element for Mayo Clinic, and here at SSMC, we share that commitment to solving complex research questions for the benefit of our patients. SSMC’s Clinical Trials Unit is a foundational component of what we’re building to become a leading medical research institute in the region performing unparalleled translational research at the interface of medicine, science, and technology. We are extremely proud to have the specialized infrastructure for complex trials and research to address key healthcare areas right here at the hospital. At this moment in time, we have over 55 industry and investigator-initiated trials and over 30 registries that are ongoing or in development.”

Dr. Asma Al Mannaei, Executive Director of the Research and Innovation Center at the Department of Health – Abu Dhabi (DoH), said: “Inspired by the UAE’s visionary leadership, Abu Dhabi is primed to be a major clinical trial capital and our healthcare ambitions are limitless. We are proud to witness leading healthcare bodies such as Sheikh Shakhbout Medical City excel in the field of research and clinical trials, further solidifying the Emirate’s position as a leading destination for life sciences. Currently, there are around 400 clinical research trials under way in Abu Dhabi, and we are confident the newly inaugurated unit will further elevate efforts and accelerate findings and innovative solutions.”

With Abu Dhabi’s visionary leadership fully supporting SSMC’s Clinical Trials Unit to conduct innovative medical research, SSMC is one step closer to meeting patients’ complex care needs. SSMC will continue leveraging SEHA’s long-standing legacy, understanding of local demands, and Mayo Clinic’s expertise and extensive medical experience.

The launch of SSMC’s Clinical Trials Unit is part of a multi-phase approach, which sets the center on a 10-year growth course. In the first phase, the Unit’s core infrastructure and initial operations will be established within the first two years of operations. Phase 2 will see the creation of a dedicated physical space, and finally in a third phase, the Unit will reach its mature innovation development capabilities, including business development and entrepreneurship.