Mallory Powell

By

College: Medicine

Innovative Biobank Will Enhance Research Capacity for Biomedical Investigators

Published: Nov 8, 2013

 

LEXINGTON, Ky. (Nov. 8, 2013) – In biomedical research, access to human tissues is of central importance in studying a disease or condition, and ultimately in developing drugs and looking for cures. For this reason, the University of Kentucky Center for Clinical and Translational Science (CCTS) is rolling out an innovative project to develop an extensive Research Registry and Specimen Bank, called a biobank, for UK researchers.

 

The biobank will utilize leftover blood and tissue from normal medical procedures. For example, when a patient undergoes a blood draw or tissue biopsy, the blood or tissue that isn’t used for testing is normally thrown away. In the new biobank project, however, patients will be given a consent form to allow any “leftover” blood or tissue from their regular medical procedures to be stored in the biobank for research purposes.

 

Participation is voluntary, and no additional procedures will be performed or extra blood or tissues collected. To protect patient privacy, all identifying information (such as name, address and social security numbers) will be removed from the samples and corresponding medical records. Researchers who use the biobank will sign confidentiality agreements, and all biospecimen information will be stored in a secure database.

 

As a large, research-oriented academic medical center, UK is in a distinctive position to develop and leverage a biobank, and it will be unique in several ways. Many academic medical centers maintain smaller biobanks for DNA or particular diseases, and these biobanks are often proprietary to a specific research center and collect tissue only retroactively. For example, a biobank housed in a cancer research center will only collect cancer tissue, and that tissue sample will only be available to cancer researchers. Alternatively, UK’s biobank will be extensive, global, and prospective in nature.

 

“This is a unique biobank,” said Dr. Philip A. Kern, director of CCTS. “Other universities have freezers full of tissues, but we’re doing this in a more global fashion, upfront at registration, rather than in a retroactive, disease-specific fashion. This gives us more flexibility to get larger numbers of samples and get samples that we might not have thought about.”

 

Because of the large and diverse patient population at UK, the potential size and scope of the biobank is huge. In the initial phase of the roll out, which began on Nov. 4, only elective surgical patients are receiving biobank consent forms. All UK patients, both inpatient and outpatient, will begin receiving biobank consent forms by January 2014. UK HealthCare sees about 35,000 patient discharges annually, which could translate into a robust biobank of both healthy and non-healthy biospecimens of all varieties.

 

“We hope that most patients will agree to participate,” said Kern. “It’s an opportunity for people to give back and be a part of research in a way that doesn’t cost them anything, by donating tissue that would otherwise be thrown away.”

 

The global nature of the biobank applies not only to inclusion of the general patient population, but also to researcher access. Whereas other biobanks are often proprietary and only available to researchers within a specific research center, the UK biobank will be available to all UK researchers.

 

However, the Markey Cancer Center will be a primary beneficiary of the biobank because it will greatly increase the capacity of its existing cancer tissue bank. The next phases of the roll-out process for the biobank will be in the Markey outpatient clinic. 

 

"As an National Cancer Institute-designated cancer center, groundbreaking cancer research is a top priority for Markey, and the biobank will be a tremendous resource for our researchers to further develop and test their work," said Dr. Mark Evers, director of the UK Markey Cancer Center. "By allowing us to keep blood and tissue samples that would have otherwise been discarded, our patients are providing a way to improve cancer care for many of our patients in the future." 

 

The sheer size of the biobank will allow an unprecedented degree of flexibility in biobanking. Since it will be impossible and unnecessary to keep and store all collected tissue, the biobank will respond to specific research goals and investigators’ needs. For example, if a researcher needs spinal fluid specimens for her study, the director of the biobank will be able to increase storage capacity for spinal fluid, along with targeted consenting of patients undergoing a spinal tap procedure in the course of their medical care.

 

CCTS spearheaded this project as part of its role to enhance the biomedical research capacity across the UK community. “It was logical for CCTS to do this because it enhances the university’s general research infrastructure,” said Kern. The development of such a large and responsive biobank will be an asset and catalyst to all biomedical research at UK, which could lead to improvements in care well beyond the UK patient population.

 

Ultimately, the biobank will facilitate better and more robust research to improve healthcare, not just in the field of cancer. “We have a lot of basic scientists doing work in animals and they need to figure out if the work has applicability to humans,” said Kern. “They need to be able to find tissues in order to answer that question.”

 

 

MEDIA CONTACT: Mallory Powell, mallory.powell@uky.edu

 

 

 

biobank_innovation_uknow.jpgkern_lab_1_2.jpgimg_1684.jpg
September
 
1
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Labor Day - Academic Holiday
Mon
2
Employee Educational Assistance Award
Internship Info Session
Student/Faculty/Staff Mixer
Tue
3
Employee Educational Assistance Award
LNFS Presents: The Wolf of Wall Street
Last Day to Add a Class
Last Day to Drop a Course with 80% Refund
UK Volunteer Fair
Wed
4
LNFS Presents: Children of Men
LNFS Presents: How To Train Your Dragon 2
Black and Latino Male Initiative
Advance Your Swagger: A Night with Fonzworth Bentely
Thu
5
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Northern Iowa
Kentucky Volleyball vs. USC
LNFS Presents: Spirited Away
LNFS Presents: Mulan
Fri
6
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Kentucky Football vs. Ohio
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Creighton
Lets Swing Dance!
Sat
7
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Morehead State
Sun
8
Diversity Organization's Council
Kosher/Soul? (Jewish, African American & Appalachian culture Fuse)
Mon
9
Rock Star Professionalism Series
Tue
10
Massage on the Go
College: Do the Right Thing- A conversation with Dr. Smith
LNFS Presents: Fight Club
Wed
11
LNFS Presents: Mr & Mrs Smith
LNFS Presents: 22 Jump Street
Thu
12
LNFS Presents: Searching For Sugarman
LNFS Presents: Sin City
Fri
13
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Men's Soccer vs. ETSU
Sat
14
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Pepperdine
Sun
15
Kentucky Week Farmer's MarCat and Craft Fair
Majestic U.N.I.T.Y.
Mon
16
Justice Delayed not Justice Denied: A Talk with Dough Jones
PRHBTN Gallery Reception and Concert
Men's Soccer vs. Xavier
Big Blue Commonwealth
Tue
17
Internship Info Session
Last Day to Drop a Course Without Appearing on Transcript
Caregiver Support Group
LNFS Presents: The Immigrant
Wed
18
LNFS Presents: Watermark
LNFS Presents: X-Men: Days of Future Past
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Lipscomb
Thu
19
LNFS Presents: A Band Called Death
LNFS Presents: Prisoners
Men's Soccer vs. Furman
Fri
20
Kentucky Volleyball vs. Xavier
Sat
21
 
Sun
22
Kentucky Law Schools Forum
Mon
23
Pinterest Party
Employer Showcase
Men's Soccer vs. Lousville
Tue
24
Employer Showcase
Last Day to Drop a Course with 50% Refund
UK Elder Care Lunch & Learn
LNFS Presents: Saving Mr. Banks
Wed
25
LNFS Presents: Culture Jam
LNFS Presents: Maleficent
Thu
26
LNFS Presents: Ponyo
LNFS Presents: The Little Mermaid
Women's Soccer vs. Mississippi State
Fri
27
Kentucky Football vs. Vanderbilt
Free Saturday Swing Dance Lessons
Sat
28
Kentucky Women's Soccer vs. Auburn
Sun
29
 
Mon
30
 
Tue
 
 
 
 
Sep 02
Internship Info Session 09/02/2014
Reset Page