Students Showcase Medical Innovations at Dubai’s Pharmaceutical Conference

Attendees walking through the hallways in DUPHAT in World Trade Center in Dubai, United Arab Emirates on 22 Feb, 2022. (AUD/Heba Alhamarna).

Pharmaceutical students from various universities in the Middle East have presented this week their research and innovations in the medical field at the 27th Dubai International Conference and Exhibition for Pharmaceuticals and Technology “DUPHAT 2022.”

Held at the Dubai World Trade Center, the event attracted about 22,000 visitors and participants from 82 countries. Among the participants were university students from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, Oman, and the United Arab Emirates.

The three-day conference, which ended on February 24, was attended by many representatives of international companies and leading names in the fields of pharmacy and medical technology, along doctors, specialists, pharmaceutical manufacturing and distribution companies.

In his message to attendees, Dr. Ali Al Sayed, Director of the Pharmaceutical Services Department at the Dubai Health Authority and Chairman of DUPHAT Conference, said that this conference would further highlight the various efforts to combat covid-19. “As frontline healthcare professionals, pharmacists all around the world continue to provide direct patient care, adopting innovative strategies to minimize the adverse impact of Covid-19.”

DUPHAT is an important conference, continued Dr. Sayed, as it “envisions to be a ‘meeting of the minds’ avenue” which aids students in their journey to meet researchers and healthcare professionals.

Aishah AlBuheiri posing next to her research paper
in DUPHAT in World Trade Center in Dubai, United
Arab Emirates on 22 Feb, 2022. (AUD/Heba Alhamarna).

Aishah AlBuheiri, a Saudi pharmaceutical student from the University of Tabuk, is focusing her research on the impact of Covid-19 infections, particularly on the liver functions for diabetics.

“The method of the study was conducted on patients with diabetes mellitus who were newly diagnosed with Covid-19 infection in hospitals of Tabuk region. The conclusion and results show that patients with diabetes mellitus suffered from greater risks of reduced hepatic function with Covid-19,” she said.

“Does Beauty Hurt?” was the center of Syrian Jumana Aljohmani and Palestinian Zena Mohamad’s research. Focusing on the “Beauty and the Beast of Diseases,” their cross-sectional study aimed to identify cancer risks induced by chemicals found in beauty products. “We are highly interested in cosmetics, and we found many ingredients in it that lead not only to cancer but also to allergies, hormone issues, and even neurological disorders,” Aljohmani told the MBRSC Post.

The two students from Al Ain university hope their research will be the starting point for pharmaceutical studies about harmful substances in daily products, and would be thrilled if colleges would include such matter in their curricula.

Representing the October University for Modern Sciences and Arts (MSA) in Cairo, Hady Gamal, Karem Ahmed, and Salma Abdelmageid showcased their research findings in an original way, using virtual reality (VR) to recreate the conditions they worked on back in Egypt. “Our project revolves around Arthritis and we are using stem cells to treat the disease,” said Gamal.

Virtual reality tour of the laboratory Gamal, Ahmed, and Abdelmageid used in Egypt to work on their research (Courtesy of Salma Abdelmageid).

Arthritis, an auto-immune disease characterized by the swelling and tenderness of one or more joints, is often treated using medications and physiotherapy. But the results obtained by the three Egyptian students are showing that stem cells combined with conventional drugs could be a more efficient treatment than conventional drugs alone. “Unfortunately, using stem cells in medicine isn’t generalized yet, it is still experimental and it’s expensive in some countries,” Gamal noted. Self-funding their research, the trio is working on a second stage in which they will be using plant extracts in combination with the stem cells to improve their results.

Hady Gamal, Karem Ahmed, and Salma Abdelmageid celebrating
after their win in DUPHAT in World Trade Center in Dubai,
United Arab Emirates on 24 Feb, 2022. (AUD/Heba Alhamarna).

The group was awarded the “Second Best Creative Pharmacy Student Poster” for their project.

DUPHAT also included a program filled with scientific lectures, specialized workshops, and topics related to public policy, drug and device regulation, building efficiency in the pharmaceutical sector, and ways to practice pharmacy in the future.

Dates for next year’s conference have yet to be released; however, participating students such as Indian Hamdan Abdulrahiman showed much excitement for the years to come. “It is very impressive, the wide range of companies and the projects of fellow colleagues, it is actually euphoric, and I can’t wait for next year.”

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Heba Alhamarna

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