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XINHUA NEWS SERVICE REPORTS FROM THE AFRICAN CONTINENT

 

Aga Khan University receiving Grants for Innovative Research

 

The Aga Khan University’s (AKU) has recently received approximately USD 144,000 in grants to tackle maternal, neonatal, child health, breast cancer and biomedical research.

AKU Head of Medical Oncology Division, Dr. Asim Jamal Shaikh recently received the Seeding Progress and Resources for the Cancer Community (SPARC) Metastatic Breast Cancer Challenge grant representing Kenya.

The grant worth USD 25000, is as a result of a partnership between the Union for International Cancer Control (UICC) and Pfizer Oncology.
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Dr. Shahin Sayed a consultant pathologist and senior faculty in the department of pathology at Aga Khan University | Coastweek   This first of its kind initiative launched in 2015, covers 20 organizations in 19 countries worldwide and aims to empower advocacy groups, hospital networks, support groups and other organizations worldwide in initiating projects to close the gap in policy, information, support and awareness between early breast cancer and advanced breast cancer.

"I applied for this grant as I saw an opportunity to address issues of an ignored breast cancer population for whom a lot can be done at the grass root level, especially in resource constrained countries like Kenya," he said.

"Online support is one of the evidence based preferred methods of help desired by women living with cancer.

"The grant will enable us develop an online interactive forum and a mobile app especially tailored for Kenyan women living with metastatic breast cancer," he added.

Dr. Asim further added that "patients will have access to psycho-social support, address stigmas, seek relevant clinical information, find links to the nearest healthcare facilities, download helpful information and participate in support group activities in a culturally appropriate and sensitive way."

Dr. Shahin Sayed, a consultant pathologist and senior faculty in the department of pathology has been awarded a USD 19,000 research grant by the AKU University Research Council (URC) towards the purchase of Bio-repository equipment in the furtherance of research.
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Consequently, Dr. Shahin Sayed, a consultant pathologist and senior faculty in the department of pathology was also awarded a USD 19,000 research grant by the AKU University Research Council (URC) towards the purchase of Bio-repository equipment in the furtherance of research.

Biobanks are the foundation of three rapidly expanding domains of biomedical research: Molecular and genetic epidemiology and Molecular pathology and Pharmacogenomics/ pharmacoproteomics.

"The era of precision and personalized medicine requires annotated human tissue and biologic samples for investigation.

"In order not to infringe on routine pathologic samples collected as per standard of care, one needs a dedicated tissue repository for research purposes, "explains Dr. Sayed

"Further research in breast cancer for example will necessitate exploration at the molecular, genetic and genomic level and this requires us to attract large international collaborative grant funding.

"Having a bio-repository of breast cancer tissue with its corresponding population controls in place thus provides AKU investigators the competitive edge to respond to future Requests for Application (RFA)," she concluded.

Lastly, Dr. Angela Koech Etyang, an alumni working at AKU’s Center of Excellence in Women and Child Health in East Africa also won a USD 100,000 grant. According to the Director of the Center, Professor Marleen Temmerman "the grant will support a PHD project led by young Kenyan women scientists on reducing the consequences of unsafe sex such as HIV in young girls".

The grant was courtesy of the Alliance for Accelerating Excellence in Science in Africa (AESA) which is an Africa-led, Africa-centered, and Africa-specific platform for developing strategies, mobilizing resources, implementing science, technology and innovation (STI) programmes in Africa and evaluating the impact of these investments. AESA was launched in 2015.

About the Aga Khan University: Chartered in 1983, the Aga Khan University is a private, autonomous university that promotes human welfare through research, teaching and community service initiatives.

Based on the principles of quality, access, impact and relevance, the university has campuses and programmes in Kenya, Tanzania, Uganda, the United Kingdom, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Its facilities include teaching hospitals, Faculties of Health Sciences with Schools of Nursing and Midwifery and Medical Colleges, Institutes for Educational Development, an Examination Board and an Institute for the Study of Muslim Civilisations.

A Graduate School of Media and Communications, an East African Institute and an Institute for Human Development are under development while Faculties of Arts and Sciences are to be set up in Pakistan and East Africa.

Through its needs-blind admissions policy, the University imbues the most promising leaders and thinkers of tomorrow with an ethic of service and the skills to help communities solve their most pressing challenges.

The Aga Khan University is one of nine agencies in the Aga Khan Development Network, a group of private development agencies with mandates ranging from health and education to architecture, culture, microfinance, rural development, disaster reduction, the promotion of private-sector enterprise and the revitalisation of historic cities.

             

 

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