Partners HealthCare Biobank has surpassed 100,000 participants, making it one of the largest biobanks in the country helping to accelerate clinical research that will allow physicians to better understand, treat and prevent diseases in patients now and in the future.
“This is a significant milestone for Partners and the research community,” said Scott Weiss, MD, principal investigator at Partners Biobank. “Greater participation in the Biobank enables us to increase the scale and scope of our research and provides our researchers with access to data and information that would otherwise take them years to source. We are already seeing tremendous results from the Biobank, for individual patients where a health concern was identified and in large studies that are helping us to identify diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer in patients who have yet to develop any symptoms.”
Researchers and clinicians at the MGH, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and other Partners institutions use the Biobank to study how genes, lifestyle and other factors affect people’s health and contribute to disease. Participants in the Biobank provide a small blood sample which is linked to their electronic health record data as well as a self-reported health survey and their family history information. The blood specimens are then genotyped and stored in a research sample and data repository, which is available to Partners researchers.
Raul Mostoslavsky, MD, PhD, researcher in the MGH Cancer Center, and his lab are investigating the connection between cell death and disease progression through the study of DNA. His study has benefited from the sample size available to him through the Biobank and participants’ follow-up.
“The Partners Biobank is integral to our research because it provides the possibility for both retrospective and prospective research,” said Mostoslavsky. “We are able to utilize the uniqueness of the Biobank to track patients who develop cancer after they provided their Biobank sample, to determine whether tissue-specific DNA predictors were present before disease presented. In my opinion, there is no other system like it in the world, and it would be incredibly difficult for us to do this research without it.”
To learn more about the Biobank visit https://biobank.partners.org.
Read more articles from the 07/12/19 Hotline issue.