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Partners HealthCare Biobank Enrolls Over 100,000


The biobank is now one of the largest in the country.

DNA strands

Partners HealthCare announced that its Biobank has hit a major milestone of over 100,000 participants. The hope is that such a large collection of participants will enable physicians to better understand diseases and treat patients.

The Biobank will allow researchers and clinicians at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, and other Partners HealthCare institutions to study the role of genetics, lifestyle, and other factors in determining health and disease.

To participate in the Biobank, participants provide a blood sample that is linked to their EHR information, along with further health survey and family history information. Those blood specimens are then genotyped and stored in a sample and data repository open to Partners researchers.

Partners says that this genotyping has allowed to them to identify potential risk factors before any clinical symptoms present themselves.

Related: Genetic Study Engages Participants Through Facebook

The Biobank has already provided samples and data to over 200 research studies, such as studies on:

  • the genetic causes of cardiomyopathy

  • genetic impact medications like antidepressants

  • the development of a clinical algorithm to identify risk for Alzheimer’s disease in early midlife

  • the role of genes in rheumatoid arthritis

  • evidence of circulating tissue DNA is blood as a predictor of cancer

  • the role of genetics and epigenetic changes to DNA in cerebral aneurysms

  • polygenic risk score associations between sleep duration and diseases

“This is a significant milestone for Partners and the research community,” says Scott T. Weiss, MD, principal investigator at the Partners Biobank and scientific director of Partners HealthCare Personalized Medicine. “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, both for individual patients where a health concern was identified to large studies that are helping us to identify diseases like Alzheimer’s and cancer in patients who have yet to develop any symptoms.”

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