Abu Dhabi DNA Centre is the future of healthcare

A new health facility has opened in the St Regis Saadiyat called DNA Centre for Integrative Medicine and Wellness, offering tourists and residents the chance to have a holiday while getting their skin perfected.

Every human being has his or her own DNA imprint, a software programming for our biological being.

It also lays the foundation for our personality – in more ways than one.

In Abu Dhabi, a new health centre has opened its helix-adorned doors to focus on the personality of the human body.

They call it “personalised lifestyle medicine”.

“We all have our own medical personality; how we react to illnesses and how we should be handled,” says Dr Nasim Ashraf, the chief executive and chairman of the DNA Center for Integrative Medicine & Wellness.

The new facility at the St Regis Saadiyat Island Resort, which opens officially in October, is already offering health packages that are based on DNA mapping and genetic profiling.

It does not do a full genetic map, says Ashraf, as the human body’s 3 billion genes cause “too much confusion”.

Instead, it tests for a particular group of high-risk diseases, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes, Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, severe autoimmune disorders, food sensitivities and allergies.

The centre claims to have the region’s only 64-slice CAT scan, which scans patients from head to toe, locating tumours and anything else -pathological.

The US$2 million (Dh7.3m) machine also performs a virtual colonoscopy and can check the patient’s heart without doing an angiogram.

“This does things today that we could not even think of before,” says Ashraf.

When the scan is finished, it is electronically transmitted to a radiologist in California who reads the results.

Back in Abu Dhabi, the patients at DNA have access to a multidisciplinary team of experts, including nutritionists, spiritual coaches, exercise physiologists, doctors and nurses.

“There is nothing like this anywhere in the world for individuals who want to invest in their health. It’s about prevention and having a healthy lifestyle,” says Ashraf.

The centre also conducts what it calls “spiritual mapping” through a personal interview, he says. “The most common thing that is overlooked is the spiritual and emotional systems. We don’t just treat diseases and symptoms.”

Guests can have one-on-one personalised yoga sessions and can also choose to be served specialised healthy detoxification meals at the St Regis hotel, as part of the package.

But it’s not for everyone, says Ashraf.

“This is a very exclusive one-on-one service. We don’t cater to huge numbers.”

It’s so exclusive that it even offers people the option to store their own stem cells, just in case things get ugly later on.

The PRP – platelet rich plasma – machine takes a patient’s blood sample and centrifuges it to separate the plasma from the red blood cells, leaving a layer of pure buffy coat fluid – which contains most of our white blood cells and platelets.

“This is like a poor man’s stem cell,” says Ashraf.

He claims they will soon be able to store stem cells by taking a sample of a patient’s fat.

“You can take the cells and store them for the future. If you get cancer 10 years down the road, you can have your own bone marrow transplant, or an injection for Alzheimer’s.”

It sounds like something out of a science-fiction movie, but Ashraf says this is the future of medicine.

Storage of your fat costs $7,000, a price that will keep it frozen forever – like an insurance – until the day you might need it again.

A client’s perspective

The Dubai resident Reem Hamad, 42, from the UK, had Botox and a temporary filler done, plus some pigmentation laser removal at the Beauty Park Spa – DNA’s sister branch – in Santa Monica, Los Angeles, run by the bio-aesthetics nurse specialist, Jaime Sherrill.

Sherrill has teamed up with DNA to allow it to operate her clinic in Abu Dhabi. She was instrumental in putting together its programme and services for bio-aesthetic treatments, under her DNA 4 Life concept.

According to Hamad, Sherrill knows her craft.

“When you go to her, you just let her do whatever you think is right to do for you. She doesn’t overdo things and it was very natural.

“In this region, everyone wants to look younger. But it’s not about that; it’s about looking good.”

The rainforest feel

“This clinic should induce inner piece,” says Dr Nasim Ashraf, the chief executive and chairman of DNA.

That is why it was designed with the concept of feng shui in mind. “The mind, body and spirit approach to wellness cannot be implemented in a stressful medical hospital. It’s not possible.”

And so they searched high and low for someone with the right kind of perspective to implement this vision.

They eventually found the interior architect Joakim de Rham, from Swiss Bureau Interior Design.

“We wanted to create a place with the feel of a rainforest, in terms of both look and smell. And he just had it.”

The finished product certainly resembles a forest of sorts. The reception area has a large wall garden covered with plants in all shades of green from floor to ceiling. And yes, they are 100 per cent real, he assures us.

“When they were putting all the plants in at first, they lost half of them because there was still construction going on. But Joakim replaced them out of his own pocket.”

Ashraf said the wall garden, which is lined with a soothing waterfall feature, adds that special touch to the DNA centre.

“This is central to healing.”

For more information on the packages on offer, visit www.dnahealthcorp.com

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