What is believed to be the world’s biggest medical project has recently launched in the UK, and is looking to gather, store and protect a vast bank of medical data to form a new revolutionary genetic database, Biobank.
UK Biobank, a GBP61 million medical project, aims to provide the material that will allow researchers to study in depth, in decades to come, how the complex interplay of genes, lifestyle and environment affect our risk of disease.
Thousands of south Manchester residents aged between 40 and 69 are being sent invitations to take part in the start-up phase of UK Biobank which requires volunteers to give blood and DNA samples. Volunteers will have to agree to be tracked for the rest of their lives, providing routine medical and other health-related information that will be stored on computers at Manchester University.
The vast amount of data the project is aiming to collect will be held by a robotic system that is eventually expected to handle samples taken from around 1,000 people every day.
UK Biobank’s principal investigator, Professor Rory Collins, said, It’s been known for a long time that the risk of getting a particular disease often involves a combination of environment, lifestyle, genes and chance but all studies to date have had limitations, which mean we still don’t have a clear picture of how these different elements interact.
He continued, By being so large and detailed, UK Biobank will be able to study many different risk factors together, each of which may have only modest effects on the likelihood of getting some particular disease.
The Department of Health and the Wellcome Trust are among the contributors of the GBP61 million funding the project will receive.