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Stem cell research in Qatar

Posted by on July 11th, 2011

There’s an interesting interview in Nature News, with Abdelali Haoudi - the vice-president for research of the Qatar foundation. Qatar opened a biomedical research institute a few years ago, and is now looking to expand this with a stem cell institute.

The situation in Qatar is almost opposite of that of many other countries:  they have enough money to set up the institute, but not necessarily enough highly-skilled people to work there. They’ve sent six students abroad to learn about stem cells at top institutes, and expect them to come back to work in Qatar, but will they really all come back, or is this going to be a practical lesson in the risks of “brain drain”?

The interview also addresses the ethical aspects and Islamic views of stem cell research. The foundation organised a conference for Islamic scholars to determine the fatwa (official Islamic rules) concerning human embryonic stem cells, and they came up with a set of well-defined rules: “We can use tissues from embryos for up to 14 days after fertilization. We have to get the consent of the parents. We cannot create embryos specifically for research, and we cannot use the tissues for commercial purposes — only for basic research or to develop new therapies”, explains Haoudi.

Have a look at the entire interview.

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