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Gulf Capital to Create a Global IVF Fertility Platform following its Acquisition of IVI-RMA’s Middle Eastern IVF Fertility Operation for over US$ 100 Million

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Three-year growth plan to increase number of clinics by three-fold and expand the operations regionally and to Asia and Europe   

Gulf Capital, one of the largest and most active alternative asset managers in the Middle East, announced today its three-year growth plans for IVI-RMA Middle East, the fastest growing provider of fertility treatment services in the GCC, following its acquisition of 100% of its stake for over US$ 100 million. The transaction is a corporate carve-out of the Middle Eastern clinics of IVI-RMA, the largest IVF service provider globally, and continues Gulf Capital’s strategy of acquiring controlling stakes in market leaders.

Gulf Capital is actively targeting investments within the fast growing and defensive healthcare sector and has identified the fertility sub-sector as a key focus priority, given its expected double-digit growth rates across the region. With increased awareness coupled with the technological advancements in the field, the fertility sector in the GCC is forecasted to continue to grow at 15%+ CAGR annually over the next 5 years.

Launched in early 2016, IVI-RMA Middle East has established itself as the fastest growing IVF service provider in the UAE and Oman, growing at a 50% CAGR since inception, on the strength of very high success rates relative to industry peers. With over 1200+ pregnancies in less than four years, the provider’s success is driven by the scientific and personalised approach of a highly skilled medical team. With a focus on original research and publications, IVI-RMA Middle East has achieved the highest success rates in the region, with pregnancy and live birth rates that position it within the top-quartile globally. Gulf Capital will back the existing management team to continue to deliver best in class treatment and success rates and to roll out operations across the region.

The new chapter of IVI-RMA Middle East will see the implementation of an ambitious three-year plan. The plan will see the launch of a new platform-wide brand identity in 2020, the inauguration of a state-of-the-art genetics lab in Abu Dhabi, and expanding the number of clinics by more than three-fold to nine clinics taking the provider to new markets in the Middle East, Asia and Europe.  The company and Gulf Capital will also be opportunistically looking at acquisitions in other geographies.

Dr Karim El Solh, Chief Executive Officer of Gulf Capital, said: “We are thrilled to back the strongest management and medical team within the IVF sector regionally. This transaction exemplifies Gulf Capital’s tried and tested strategy of acquiring controlling stakes in market leading companies in high growth sectors. IVI-RMA Middle East is the fastest growing IVF service provider in the GCC, and we are excited to be collaborating with its strong management team to take this platform to the next level. The investment in IVI-RMA Middle East is Gulf Capital’s largest equity investment to date and is the first corporate carve-out in our Firm’s history.”

Dr (Professor) Human Fatemi, Medical Director for IVI-RMA Middle East, remarked: “Over the past few years, the uptake of assisted reproduction methods to conceive has increased exponentially in the GCC, especially among the urban population. Infertility in the Middle East has been on the rise due to the ever-evolving lifestyle patterns and other disorders. However, most of the treatment protocols are based upon western treatment plans. While the IVF market in the GCC is growing rapidly, there is a clear need to address issues like standardised clinical protocols, structured training, genetic laboratories and ethical practices. At IVI-RMA Middle East, we are undertaking fundamental research across all related areas including genetics research based upon our observations and trials locally. It has been our constant endeavour to assist more and more couples to fulfill their dream of starting a family by providing the most advanced fertility treatments in accordance with international guidelines, coupled with the right technology. Our partnership with Gulf Capital shall help us offer our services to an even broader segment of the population.”

Suresh Soni, CEO of IVI-RMA Middle East, said: “We are excited to partner with Gulf Capital as we embark on our next phase of expansion and growth. We share a common vision: ‘Paulatim ergo certe’… Slowly therefore surely. The cornerstone of our success is good science and technology, which translates into the best medical outcomes for our patients. We have world-renowned IVF specialists and embryologists working in state-of-the-art facilities. We shall continue to deliver the best treatments and services to our patients so that they receive the best value for their money. Our partnership with Gulf Capital, which has a storied and long history of value addition and operational expertise, will help accelerate our growth internationally and position us as one of the largest global IVF fertility platforms.”

Hazem Abu Khalaf, Managing Director at Gulf Capital, added: “We were very impressed by what Suresh Soni and Dr. Human Fatemi have been able to accomplish in such a short period of time.  IVI-RMA Middle East’s research focused and patient centric approach has allowed it to build an impressive track record that compares favourably even with the best IVF centers globally. With a regional market expected to continue to expand at a double-digit growth rates over the next five years, we are confident that our partnership will enable the team to expand its coverage and services into new territories globally and to deliver market leading success and live birth rates. We are enthusiastic about our future plans together and look forward to working closely with the team on this new phase of growth.”

Gulf Capital was advised by Allen & Overy and PwC. The selling shareholders of IVI-RMA Middle East were advised by Lincoln International, Clyde & Co and Ernst & Young.

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Health Promotion Department announces a package of Initiatives for 2020 in implementation to Sheikha Jawaher vision

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The Health Promotion Department, HPD, at the Supreme Council for Family Affairs, SCFA, and its health-promoting associations have announced a package of new programs and initiatives that will be organized throughout 2020.

The new activities were formulated to support the government endeavors in 2020, which was announced to be the year of preparations for the next 50 (2020: towards the next 50).  The initiatives aim to strengthen the adoption of healthy lifestyles among the community members and improving the public health in the Emirate of Sharjah, pursuant to the visions and directives of Her Highness Sheikha Jawaher Bint Mohammed Al Qasimi, Wife of His Highness the Ruler of Sharjah and Chairperson of the Supreme Council for Family Affairs in Sharjah.

This was stated during a press conference held today (Wednesday) at the SCFA headquarters, in the presence of HE Iman Rashid Saif, Director of the Health Promotion Department, heads of health-promoting associations, representatives of HPD’s strategic partners, a number of volunteers at the Department, and a big crowd of media representatives.

The to-be launched initiatives includes an initiative to complete work on the “Healthy Schools Program”, “Wazen Program”, as well as other initiatives and programmes for health-promoting associations, which focus on enhancing the Emirate’s efforts in terms of raising awareness on ways to prevent various diseases, and encourage members of society to follow healthy lifestyles and exercise healthy habits that maintain health and safety.

A Roadmap for Our Initiatives

HE Iman Rashid Saif said: “The theme ‘2020: Towards the next 50’ announced by the wise leadership at the beginning of this year was the base of our strategic plans for this year and constitutes a roadmap for the Department’s initiatives and programs. This year’s activities are relying on new and innovative awareness methods to reach all society segments and all age groups.”

This includes conducting more field visits and fostering our participation inside and outside the Emirate’s major fairs, festivals, and events to continue our fundamental and growing role in maintaining public health, preventing and reducing the prevalence of chronic diseases, Saif further said.

“The department is doing its best to maintain Sharjah’s reputation as an oasis of healthy life and a role model in caring for the health and safety of its citizens and residents”, she added

Various Initiatives

Following a short film about the Health Promotion Department and the related health promotion associations, Amna Al Naqbi, Director of the Division of the Health Information of the Health Education Department of the SCFA outlined the Department’s initiatives for 2020. They include Ramadan’s initiative under the slogan “Hilal Al-Seha”, “Health & Tourism Initiative” which will be focusing on nutrition in association with some restaurants and cafes, “Sohbti Program” (My Companions) which is organized annually in cooperation with Sajaya Young Ladies of Sharjah, and organizing “My Health Conference” the largest event of its kind.

Organizing the 8th Annual Marathon

HE Waheeda Abdul Aziz, Head of the Friends of Arthritis Patients Society, shed light on the Association’s agenda, including “It’s Time to Exercise” and the 8th annual marathon with ambitious plans to attract over 8000 people, with the aim of drawing the attention of the community to arthritis patients and supporting them financially and morally.

Other events include a “walking hour” initiative, launching a short health and awareness film competition, organizing a health conference, and a “steps towards hope” forum to reveal the latest research in the field of joint and bone diseases, and raise awareness of the hazards of osteoporosis.

Heba Mohammed Zaqqout, Executive Secretary, Friends of Breastfeeding Association, highlighted the programs and initiatives of the Breastfeeding Friends Association, where it is intending to carry out more than 20 initiatives and programs including the Mabrouk Ma Yak Initiative, Breastfeeding Girl Guides Program as well as a specialized training course on the breastfeeding-related and infant nutrition topics.

Other activities of the year also include the annual ceremony for honoring nursing mothers to encourage them to continue breastfeeding, in addition to organizing activities marking the World Breastfeeding Week and the National Breastfeeding Week.

The Friends of Cancer Patients (FOCP)

Amal Al-Mazmi, Head of the Organizational Excellence Department at the FOCP, gave a presentation on the Association’s agenda, which includes the launch of the 3rd non-communicable diseases forum. A workshop will also be organized for the record of cancer tumors.

Additionally, the FOCP will be taking part, for the fifth consecutive year, in the Gulf Campaign to raise cancer awareness, besides launching the Pink Caravan Journey in its tenth edition, as well as organizing the “I Deserve Life” campaign in its eighth edition during the holy month of Ramadan, and participating in the Sharjah Book Fair and Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival.

Raising Diabetes Awareness among School Students

Amna Ahmed Al Shamsi, Executive Secretary, the Friends of Diabetes Association, said: “The Association’s agenda for this year focuses on enhancing the public awareness on diabetes and promoting ways of prevention, as well as on how to provide appropriate health care for diabetic patients. Our agenda will be implemented through three big campaigns to be organized by the associations, including the “Blue Circle” initiative, “The Super Hero” and the “Prevention and Coexistence” campaigns.

“Also, our activities will be focusing on raising diabetes awareness among school students in Sharjah, by providing free consultations and organization of awareness-raising workshops and various recreational events and other activities” Al Shamsi added.

Kidney Health for All Everywhere

While Aisha Al Ali, a representative of the Friends of Kidney Patients Association, explained the association’s most important initiative, most importantly the International Kidney Day Initiative, entitled “Kidney Health for All Everywhere”, which includes a number of activities, such as launching a contest through social networking sites, producing educational film, organizing a “mural” exhibition and a patient visits program.

This is in addition to the “My Health in Ramadan” initiative to educate employees on how to maintain normal levels of sugar and blood pressure and the “Water Campaign” initiative to raise awareness of the importance of water and sports for kidney health.

The Health Education Department and health-supporting associations will also strive to launch several initiatives to mark international health days throughout the year, in addition to raising awareness through social media and media outlets, as well as developing studies that serve the health and social aspects whether in the Emirate of Sharjah or nationwide.

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Why EMS Training is considered safe fitness training

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EMS stands for electronic magnetic stimulation and in recent times it has become increasingly popular and widely accepted.

EMS training Dubai is one of the most recent popular fitness trends in Dubai.

Due to the recent spike in the number of EMS studios, there has been an increasing concern about the safety of EMS training.

HOW DOES EMS TRAINING WORK?

EMS training or electrostimulation originated from physiotherapy. It involves the use of low-frequency electrical impulses to stimulate muscles that conventional training methods did not necessarily stimulate. It is a high intensity targeted muscle stimulation program that only takes about 20 minutes. In addition to stimulating major muscle groups, EMS training also stimulates underlying muscle groups as well.

Although EMS training only takes a short period of time, they are quite effective and results can be compared to several hours of conventional training.

EMS training can involve both dynamic and static routines with a wide range of variations. the training involves transferring electrical impulses into the body with the use of electrodes controlled by an EMF device. The EMS device controls the impulse intensity and duration, so as to stimulate each muscle group individually.

How safe is EMS training?

A lot of people think that passing electrical impulses through the human body is harmful. However electrical impulses are what make up our nervous system it is through these electrical impulses that the brain controls and communicates with the rest of the body.

However, high-frequency electrical currents can actually be dangerous for humans, but EMS training passes low-frequency electrical impulses which are not harmful in any way.

Stimulating your muscles electronically makes for a really intense and efficient workout session which saves you a lot of time and effort.

While it is safe to electrically stimulate your muscles, it is advisable that you only carry out electrical stimulation in a standard EMS studio. EMS studios that are part of a franchise usually have trainers the professionally supervise your workout session.

EMA training is safe however very few exceptions. People that have existing health problems are advised to seek a medical opinion before opting for EMS training.

If any of the following applies to you, be sure to avoid the best training.

  • If you are wearing a cardiac pacemaker.
  • If you are pregnant.
  • If you have a cold, bacterial infection, or fever.

In addition to the three conditions described above, certain health conditions such as neurological diseases neurological disorders, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and of course, epilepsy all require the opinion of a medical practitioner before opting for EMS training.

People who wear implants or may have issues with physical efforts should also seek the opinion of a doctor.

What are the effects of EMS training on your body?

  • EMS training strengthens the entire muscle groups of the body.
  • It also is an effective muscle-building procedure which helps our bodies to burn more calories and subsequently lose weight and decrease body fat.
  • EMS training can also tighten the skin and eliminate cellulite.
  • EMS can also be used for preventing and treating common back problems like muscle tensions and disc herniations.
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OIC Health Ministers conclude their 7th Conference, with approving five health-focused decisions

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The 7th Session of the Islamic Conference of Health Ministers (ICHM) ended on a very high note today (Tuesday), with approving five key decisions related to priority health issues and main challenges facing Islamic societies.

Hosted by the UAE Ministry of Health and Prevention, the event witnessed an impressive participation by health ministers and high-level representatives from OIC member states, OIC’s institutions and international organizations.

Running from 15th-17th December in Abu Dhabi, the conference was held under the theme “Quality of Life”.

The Republic of Maldives has been also announced the host country of the 8th session to be organized in 2021.

The closing session was presided over by HE Dr. Hussein Abdel-Rahman Al-Rand, Assistant Undersecretary of Health Centers and Clinics Sector, on behalf of HE Abdul Rahman bin Muhammad Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention, in the presence of Askar Musinov, Assistant Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) for Science and Technology.

Al-Rand and Musinov thanked all ministers and representatives for their participation and active contribution to the conference, highlighting the necessity to follow up on the approved decisions. They also reaffirmed their support to the implementation of decisions and recommendations came out of ICHM.

Five decisions

The five decisions include a decision to speed up the implementation of the OIC Strategic Health Programme of Action 2014-2023 ((OIC-SHPA)), in addition to another one on healthy lifestyle, prevention and control of communicable and non-communicable diseases, health emergencies and disasters.

The health ministers also endorsed another three decisions on the health and nutrition of mothers and babies, on self-reliance in the provision and production of drugs, vaccines and medical technology, and on strengthening immunization services and addressing frequency in the use of vaccines.

OIC member states have lauded the UAE’s National Wellbeing Strategy 2031, which was highlighted by HE Ohood bint Khalfan Al Roumi, Minister of State for Happiness and Wellbeing and Director General of the Prime Minister’s Office at the Ministry of Cabinet Affairs and the Future, on the second day of the event.

They also praised the UAE’s efforts being made to combat poverty and treat blindness, which resulted in benefiting over 23 million people in more than 40 countries through the Mohamed Bin Rashid Al-Maktoum Humanitarian and Charity Establishment.

The members states particularly referred to the efforts exerted by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, to eradicate polio in the world, especially in Pakistan and Afghanistan, besides other contributions to the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunizations (GAVI ).

Goals achieved

Al-Rand stressed that the 7th session of the conference has successfully achieved its goals, which are in line with OIC-SHPA, stressing the importance of universal health coverage, disease prevention and control and the polio eradication programs. He also highlighted the need to develop the health sector and health activities nationally and regionally and to place them at the core of development cooperation and support programs.

UAE: Hub for regional & international events

“The conference has been held at a very special time here in the UAE. It is when our wise leadership announced next year to be the year of preparations for the next 50 (2020: towards the country 50). This announcement represents a long-term vision that would enable our country to forge the future while standing on a solid ground thanks to its leading development progress, added Al Rand.

He reaffirmed the UAE’s keenness to host and organize regional and international events concerned with health care sector, exchange expertise and knowledge, attract and harness medical technology and utilize artificial intelligence technologies to provide health and preventive services, according to the best international standards, in line with national agenda 2021 and the UAE Centennial 2071.

Concluding the event, the participating delegations expressed their gratitude and appreciation to the UAE leadership under  President His  Highness Sheikh Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan, and His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai for the well-organization, warm welcome and gracious hospitality.  They also lauded MoHAP’s efforts and its great attention paid to all guests and participants, which ensured the resounding success of the conference.

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Statement by HE Abdul Rahman bin Mohammed Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention.

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Half-century roadmap launched to ensure the prosperity and wellbeing of the UAE and its people

HE Abdul Rahman bin Mohammed Al Owais, Minister of Health and Prevention, stressed that declaring 2020 as the year of preparations for the next 50 years by UAE leaders is yet another step forward in shaping the future that our wise leadership wants for its people.

Al Owais added: “Through this initiative, our country will witness the biggest national strategy of its kind. It will not only prepare for the coming 50 years on the federal and local levels, but will also make the UAE the best, fastest growing and most flexible country to future changes.

This huge announcement by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice President and Prime Minister of UAE and Ruler of Dubai, and His Highness Sheikh Mohamed bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, reaffirms the fact that we have great and exceptional leaders, who are keen to shape a promising future, following in the footsteps of the country’s founding fathers.

Over the past five decades, our country has made great achievements and breakthroughs that gained widespread admiration across the world. As for the next 50 years, our leadership has planned a clear national strategy with great ambitions and forward-looking vision to help the country overcome future challenges while standing firmly on sild ground.

Thanks to its leadership, sustainable development and strong determination, the UAE today is at the forefront of the world’s most developed countries and is an inspirational success story. It has occupied a leading position on all economic, social and health levels.

We, at the Ministry of Health and Prevention, reiterate our full commitment to making every possible effort to help realise the vision of our wise leadership. We will keep on improving our healthcare system according to the best international practices. We will make 2020 a year full of great achievements. We will spare no effort to build a healthier and happier society provided with integrated healthcare services that ensure its wellbeing.   The Ministry will play its full part to support our government efforts and will do its best to bring about great strides in the healthcare sector using smart techniques made available by the Fourth Industrial Revolution including artificial intelligence and blockchain.We will relentlessly work to achieve the Ministry’s strategy and provide comprehensive and innovative health services according to the best international standards,” Al Owais concluded.

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Seattle Genetics and Takeda Announce Additional Analyses of ADCETRIS® (Brentuximab Vedotin) ECHELON-1 and ECHELON-2 Phase 3 Clinical Trials at the 2019 ASH Annual Meeting

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Four-Year Data Continue to Show Superior Progression-Free Survival of ADCETRIS in Combination with AVD when Compared to ABVD in Frontline Advanced Hodgkin Lymphoma with 31 Percent Reduction in the Risk of Progression or Death 

Additional Analysis from ECHELON-2 Phase 3 Clinical Trial Evaluating ADCETRIS Plus CHP Chemotherapy Also Featured at ASH Annual Meeting 

Seattle Genetics, Inc. (Nasdaq:SGEN) and Takeda Pharmaceutical Company Limited (TSE:4502/NYSE:TAK) today announced additional analyses of results from the ECHELON-1 and ECHELON-2 frontline phase 3 trials of ADCETRIS® (brentuximab vedotin). These analyses were presented at the 61st Annual Meeting of the American Society of Hematology (ASH) taking place December 7-10, 2019 in Orlando, Fla. ADCETRIS is an antibody-drug conjugate (ADC) directed to CD30, a defining marker of classical Hodgkin lymphoma and expressed on the surface of several types of peripheral T-cell lymphomas (PTCL).

The ECHELON-1 analysis highlighted a four-year update of the phase 3 clinical trial in a poster presentation. ECHELON-1 is evaluating ADCETRIS in combination with AVD (Adriamycin [doxorubicin], vinblastine and dacarbazine) compared to ABVD (Adriamycin [doxorubicin], bleomycin, vinblastine and dacarbazine) in patients with Stage III or IV frontline classical Hodgkin lymphoma.

The ECHELON-2 phase 3 clinical trial data were presented in an oral session at ASH and focused on the outcomes of the subset of patients who underwent consolidative stem cell transplant. ECHELON-2 is evaluating ADCETRIS in combination with CHP (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, prednisone) compared to CHOP (cyclophosphamide, doxorubicin, vincristine, prednisone) in frontline CD30-expressing PTCL.

“For decades, the standard of care for the treatment of frontline Hodgkin lymphoma has been combination chemotherapy, called ABVD. Unfortunately, approximately 30 percent of patients with advanced stage Hodgkin lymphoma do not respond or relapse following treatment with this therapy,” said Roger Dansey, M.D., Chief Medical Officer at Seattle Genetics. “The four-year update from the ECHELON-1 trial continues to support the robust and durable frontline treatment benefit of ADCETRIS plus AVD, including in both Stage III and IV disease settings, compared to ABVD across subgroups, regardless of PET2 status. These data reinforce ADCETRIS plus AVD as a treatment option that should be offered to all newly diagnosed advanced stage patients with Hodgkin lymphoma.”

“Updated data from the ECHELON-1 trial and further insights from ECHELON-2 build upon our continued understanding of the potential ADCETRIS offers patients with CD30-positive lymphomas,” said Phil Rowlands, Ph.D., Head, Oncology Therapeutic Area Unit, Takeda. “We’re especially encouraged by the promising four-year follow-up ECHELON-1 results being presented at ASH, as approximately one in three patients with advanced Hodgkin lymphoma do not achieve long-term remission after standard frontline therapy.”

Brentuximab Vedotin with Chemotherapy for Stage 3/4 Classical Hodgkin Lymphoma (cHL): 4-Year Update of the ECHELON-1 Study (Abstract #4026, poster presentation on Monday, December 9, 2019)

As previously reported, the ECHELON-1 trial achieved its primary endpoint with the combination of ADCETRIS plus AVD resulting in a statistically significant improvement in modified progression-free survival (PFS) compared to the control arm of ABVD as assessed by independent review facility (IRF; hazard ratio (HR), 0.77; p=0.035). A four-year post-hoc exploratory analysis was conducted to examine PFS outcomes per investigator assessment in the intent-to-treat population of 1,334 patients, including results by PET2 status, age, stage and prognostic risk scores. Results include:

  • The four-year PFS rate for patients in the ADCETRIS plus AVD arm was 81.7 percent compared to 75.1 percent in the ABVD arm, a difference of 6.6 percent (HR, 0.69 [95% CI: 0.542, 0.881]). This represents a 31 percent reduction in the risk of progression or death. Median follow-up time was 48.4 months.
  • A PFS benefit at four-years for ADCETRIS plus AVD was observed for all patients independent of PET2 status, including in patients who are less than 60 years old.
    • PET2-negative result was 86.2 percent in the ADCETRIS plus AVD arm compared to 81.0 percent in the ABVD arm (HR, 0.69), a difference of 5.2 percent.
    • PET2-positive result was 62.1 percent in the ADCETRIS plus AVD arm compared to 47.7 percent in the ABVD arm (HR, 0.65), a difference of 14.4 percent.
  • Consistent improvement in PFS was observed among patients treated with ADCETRIS plus AVD compared with ABVD across the majority of pre-specified subgroups, including disease stage, age and prognostic score.
    • Notably, improvements compared to ABVD were observed in patients with Stage III (HR, 0.595; [95% CI: 0.386, 0.917]) and Stage IV (HR, 0.745; [95% CI: 0.555, 1.001]) disease.
  • As previously reported for the primary analysis, on the ADCETRIS plus AVD arm, peripheral neuropathy events were observed in 67 percent of patients compared to 43 percent in the ABVD arm. The four-year update shows that among patients with peripheral neuropathy, 83 percent in the ADCETRIS plus AVD arm and 84 percent in the ABVD arm reported complete resolution or improvement at last follow-up.

More than 45 countries and regions have approved ADCETRIS in combination with AVD for the treatment of patients with previously untreated Stage III or IV Hodgkin lymphoma. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approved ADCETRIS in combination with AVD for the treatment of adult patients with previously untreated stage III or IV classical Hodgkin lymphoma in March 2018, based on the results of the ECHELON-1 phase 3 clinical trial in which the primary endpoint was modified PFS. In February 2019, the European Commission (EC) approved ADCETRIS for the treatment of adult patients with previously untreated CD30+ Stage IV Hodgkin lymphoma in combination with AVD.

An Exploratory Analysis of Brentuximab Vedotin plus CHP (A+CHP) in the Frontline Treatment of Patients with CD30+ Peripheral T-Cell Lymphomas (ECHELON-2): Impact of Consolidative Stem Cell Transplant (Abstract #464, oral presentation on Sunday, December 8, 2019)

As previously reported, the ECHELON-2 trial met its primary endpoint with the combination of ADCETRIS plus CHP resulting in a statistically significant improvement in PFS versus the control arm of CHOP per blinded independent central review (HR, 0.71; p=0.0110). In addition, the overall survival benefit in the ADCETRIS plus CHP arm was statistically significant compared to CHOP (HR, 0.66; p=0.0244). A post-hoc exploratory analysis evaluated the impact of consolidative stem cell transplant in the ECHELON-2 study for the patients who achieved CR treated with ADCETRIS plus CHP. In the ADCETRIS plus CHP arm, this included 38 patients in CR who received a stem cell transplant and 76 patients in CR who did not. Key findings of this analysis include:

  • The PFS estimate favored the use of stem cell transplant (HR, 0.38; [95% CI: 0.18, 0.82]). After a median follow-up time of 35.9 months, the three-year PFS rate for the 38 patients who received a stem cell transplant was 76.1 percent. After a median follow-up time of 41.6 months, the three-year PFS rate for the 76 patients who did not receive a stem cell transplant was 53.3 percent.
  • As previously reported, the safety profile of ADCETRIS plus CHP in the ECHELON-2 trial was comparable to CHOP and consistent with the established safety profile of ADCETRIS in combination with chemotherapy.
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Galderma Investigational Therapy Nemolizumab Granted FDA Breakthrough Therapy Designation for the Treatment of Patients Suffering from Prurigo Nodularis

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Galderma today announced that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation to the investigational therapy nemolizumab for the treatment of pruritus associated with prurigo nodularis.

Prurigo nodularis is a rare, potentially debilitating, chronic skin condition with thick skin nodules covering large body areas and associated severe pruritus. It frequently leads to a severe quality of life impairment.

Nemolizumab is a first-in-class investigational monoclonal antibody that blocks signaling of IL-31. Galderma recently presented, at the 28th Annual Congress of the European Academy of Dermatology and Venereology, the results of a Phase 2 study in adult patients with moderate-to-severe prurigo nodularis. Nemolizumab not only met the primary endpoint of a greater improvement in peak pruritus Numerical Rating Scale (PP NRS) from baseline compared to placebo, but also significantly improved skin lesions as measured by Investigator Global Assessment (IGA).

Dr Thibaud Portal, Galderma Global Vice President of Prescription medicines, commented: “With the Phase 2 study results, we were able to provide substantial clinical evidence supporting the Breakthrough Therapy Designation now granted by the U.S. FDA. We are very excited by the prospect of offering a treatment option to doctors, and their patients with prurigo nodularis, where currently there are no registered therapy options. We are fully committed to continue driving forward the overall nemolizumab development program.”

Galderma is now actively preparing for the initiation of a Phase 3 pivotal program with nemolizumab in adult patients with prurigo nodularis in 2020.

Earlier this year, Galderma announced the enrollment of the first patients in the Phase 3 pivotal program with nemolizumab in adult patients with moderate-to-severe atopic dermatitis.

About the Breakthrough Therapy Designation

Therapies that are granted Breakthrough Therapy Designation by the U.S. FDA target serious or life-threatening diseases or conditions and provide preliminary clinical evidence indicating that the drug may demonstrate substantial improvement over existing therapies on one or more clinically significant endpoints, such as substantial treatment effects observed early in clinical development.

About Nemolizumab

Nemolizumab, a first-in-class humanized monoclonal antibody, is directed against the IL-31 receptor alpha, which blocks signaling from IL-31. Nemolizumab, initially developed by Chugai Pharmaceutical Co., Ltd., was subsequently licensed to Galderma in 2016 – worldwide except Japan and Taiwan. Nemolizumab is an investigational agent under clinical development and its safety and efficacy have not been fully evaluated by any regulatory authority.

About Galderma

Galderma, the world’s largest independent global dermatology company, was created in 1981 and is now present in over 100 countries with an extensive product portfolio to treat a range of dermatological conditions. The company partners with health care practitioners around the world to meet the skin health needs of people throughout their lifetime. Galderma is a leader in research and development of scientifically-defined and medically-proven solutions for the skin. For more information, please visit www.galderma.com

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Ministry of Health holds workshop to stimulate private sector’s engagement in the training of interns

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  • Ministry’s workshop brings together private hospitals and medical universities.
  • Ministry to expand local and international partnerships, in bid to boost the capacities of interns.

The Ministry of Health and Prevention has organized a special workshop to introduce private hospitals and medical universities to the terms and conditions of being accredited as official training providers able to qualify interns to become professional general practitioners (GP).

The workshop staged by the Training and Development Centre, Sharjah, is part of the ministry’s initiatives seeking to advance the role played by the private hospitals and medical universities in developing the UAE’s health sector and training medical cadres, according to the latest medical practices in the world.

Present at the workshop were Hospital directors and training officials from Sheikh Khalifa General Hospital, Umm Al Quwain, University Hospital Sharjah, Al Sharq Hospital, Fujairah, Medcare Hospital, Zulekha Hospital, Sharjah, Gulf Medical University, Al Zahra Hospital, Sheikh Khalifa Speciality Hospital, Ras Al Khaimah, Hamdan Bin Mohammed College of Dental Medicine.

Accreditation: terms & conditions

Saqr Al Humairi, Director of the Training and Development Centre, said: “We aim, through this workshop, to engage private sector hospitals and medical universities in achieving the national health goals set by our wise leadership, which are meant to develop healthcare services across all specialties.”

During the event, Al Humairi outlined the terms and conditions established by the ministry to recognize medical institutions as official training providers to human medicine and dentistry interns.

“The Ministry of Health is very keen to upgrade the professional skills of its cadres, especially those graduating from Emirati academic institutions, in cooperation with private health facilities. We are conducting training programs according to a strategic plan that focuses on producing well-trained GPs capable of performing their duties to the fullest” Al Humairi added.

Expanding partnerships

Al Humairi concluded by saying: “We are looking forward to expanding our local and international partnerships and adopting globally approved training programs that improve the capabilities of our medical and technical cadres. Within four years only, we have made a significant difference and noticeable achievements that contributed to developing the quality of healthcare services and the professionalism of medical cadres “.

A dialogue session was held on the sidelines of the workshop, discussing challenges facing medical training in the private and public sector and possible solutions. The session also touched on the role need to be played by private health bodies.

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Ministry of Health & Prevention announces schedule for ‘Visiting Consultants Program’ for December 2019

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  • Ministry to bring in 25 highly skilled consultants, specialized in various disciplines
  • Consultants coming from seven American hospitals, six European, four Arab, three Asian

The Ministry of Health and Prevention (MoHAP) has unveiled the Visiting Consultants Program for the month of December 2019.

An elite group of more than 25 consultants from seven renowned American hospitals, six European, four Arab, three Asian, will visit ten hospitals that operate under the umbrella of ministry to offer advanced diagnostic and therapeutic services to patients, according to the latest global practices.

The visiting consultants will be checking out the Al Qassimi Hospital, Khorfakkan Hospital, Al Qassimi Women & Children’s Hospital in Sharjah, Ibrahim Bin Hamad Obaidullah and Saqr Hospitals in Ras Al Khaimah, Masafi, Fujairah and Dibba Hospitals in Fujairah, Al Kuwait and Al Amal Hospital in Dubai.

21 Medical Specialties

They will offer examination along with analysis and therapeutic services in numerous specialties, including ophthalmology, anesthesiology and pain management, pediatric interventional cardiology, pediatric allergy and immunology, bariatric surgery, pediatric ophthalmology, nephrology, psychiatry (Addiction).

Other specialties also include ophthalmology (Cataract and Retinal Surgery), pediatric cardiology, pulmonology, emergency medicine, obstetrics and gynecology (Robotic Surgery), orthopedics (Spine), geriatrics, cardiovascular surgery, adult psychiatry, endocrinology (diabetes), orthopedics, ophthalmology (plastic and reconstructive surgery), and physiotherapy.

Qualitative Shift

Dr. Sultan Ahmed Al Sharif, Director of the MoHAP’s Visiting Consultants Office, stressed that the ministry has noticed tangible improvements in most cases that received treatment from the visiting physicians, without the need to travel abroad.

“There is no doubt the program has brought about a qualitative shift in terms of providing diagnostic and therapeutic consultations and surgeries to patients. This highlights the ministry’s keenness to deliver comprehensive and integrated healthcare services using innovative and sustainable methods”, he said.

And what makes it even more special is not only the various medical specialties it covers, neither the numerous services it provides, but also the medical crew, which features highly qualified and experienced doctors, who will enrich the UAE’s medical scene with new expertise and treatment methods, Al Sharif added.

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MoHAP Organizes the 5th ‘Regional Conference on Best Practice in the Application of International Standards and Quality and Patient Safety Standards’

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The Ministry of Health and Prevention, MoHAP, organized the 5th ‘Regional Conference on Best Practice in the Application of International Standards and Quality and Patient Safety Standards’, as part of MoHAP’s efforts to enhance the exchange of experiences and success stories among the participating hospitals.

With the participation of more than 250 decision-makers, specialists, professionals, experts and speakers in the field of international accreditation and health quality and patient safety, and other members of the health team such as pharmacists and technicians from inside and outside the country, the event aims to improve the quality of health services, reduce medical errors, enhance patient safety, and elevate the productivity of health facilities.

Also, the conference was attended by a number of MoHAP senior officials, directors of departments, and Dr. Zakaria Al-Attal, Director of Clinical Quality and Health Accreditation, and participants from various health institutions in the country such as the Dubai Health Authority, Abu Dhabi Health Department, Ministry of Presidential Affairs, Abu Dhabi Health Services (SEHA), Dubai Healthcare City Authority and private sector hospitals.

A variety of panel discussions, research studies, working papers have tackled relevant topics including; quality, improving clinical standards, reducing regulatory risks, controlling infection, keeping abreast of the latest medical technology and data-driven medical practices, patient-centered care systems, patient rights policies and legislation, and interdisciplinary participatory efforts.

A Qualitative Leap in the Quality and Sustainability of Healthcare

Commenting on the importance of the conference, HE Dr. Youssif Al Serkal, Assistant Undersecretary for the Ministry’s Hospitals Sector, said that the conference is featuring a broad participation of experts and specialists who will share their expertise in the application of quality programs and statistical tools to health care organizations, and utilization of smart technologies and artificial intelligence and its applications to serve the interest of patient safety.

The conference will also shed light on the challenges facing infection control programs, laboratory accreditation programs, and the optimal solutions to such challenges.

In addition, conference sessions will highlight the best practices in enhancing the role of patients and their families in implementing the treatment plan, so as to foster quality and patient safety, in addition to improving patient’s experience in health facilities and best practices in the provision of interdisciplinary care.

“MoHAP is adopting the institutional and medical governance as part of its strategy to build quality systems, therapeutic, health, and pharmaceutical safety as per international standards and due to the importance of quality and patient safety in the constant development of the health sector, hence the need to make a quantum leap in the healthcare sustainability. It’s so obvious that the more healthcare institutions commit to the continuous health quality, the higher the patient’s satisfaction they will get,” he noted.

Reinforcing the Health Sector Quality Promotes Medical Tourism

He added: “For the fifth consecutive year, the UAE is topping the countries in terms of the number of the JCI’s accredited health facilities, which prominently boosts the local and international confidence in the efficacy and quality of the UAE’s health sector, thereby promoting medical tourism.”

Al Serkal further said: “The UAE is a successful and inspiring model, thanks to its exceptional experience as an incubator of quality and innovation, as well as it attracts the medical competencies and represents a center of attraction to invest in quality.”

He emphasized that MoHAP’s efforts to improve the clinical care quality in accordance with best international standards to achieve the national indicator outcomes relating to the rate of health facilities eligible for international accreditation as per the National Agenda objectives 2021.

“About 52 health facilities have received the JCI accreditation, the latest of which was MoHAP hospital’s network in Ras Al Khaimah, which obtained the accreditation all at once, in a first-of-its-kind achievement in the Middle East. In parallel, a detailed program has been developed to help the remaining hospitals and health centers to get accredited as per the approved schedule. This is part of MoHAP’s endeavors to enhance the healthcare level by developing medical policies and protocols in accordance with the best practices and JCI’s standards,” Al Serkal elaborated.

Implementing Clinical Governance Promotes Quality Standards

“The recently launched Clinical Governance system will help advance the performance quality, overall policies, protocols, and clinical work systems enable the medical team to rely on the latest strategies to develop the clinical work, and improve treatment according to evidence-based international practices. The work is underway at the Hospitals Sector to set central guidelines principles to standardize clinical practice and measure and monitor a number of the key guidance performance indicators,” he concluded.

Successful Experiences in Compliance with Accreditation Standards

Dr. Zakaria Al-Attal, Director of Clinical Quality and Health Accreditation, said: “The fifth edition of the conference is seeing positive outcomes in terms of sharing and reviewing successful experiences and fostering quality practices in the healthcare to ensure that healthcare providers fully comply with international standards.”

Al-Attal shed light on the international prerequisites of the health accreditation institutions, most notably, occupational health and safety programs, information management and data security, evidence-based tools to enhance patient experience and rights, integrate technology, patient empowerment, reduce hospital infection, medical errors and integrated risk assessment strategy (facility and safety management – infection control – risk management).

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