What are Biobanks and why are they important?
Biobanks are collections of human samples and related health data. The samples are kept safely so that long term medical research can be carried out.
They are important for making new medical discoveries because they provide researchers with well characterized materials and data that would be very expensive for them to establish for each new project.
Research from Biobank samples is aimed at providing new insights into diseases, especially its genetic components, ultimately leading to better healthcare.
What is The Harry Perkins Biobank?
The Harry Perkins Biobank (HPB) is based at The Harry Perkins Institute for Medical Research. It integrates several important collections of samples that have been established over the last twenty-five years. These were established under full ethics approvals and regulations. The HPB will provide samples and data to qualified researchers to help advance medical research discoveries in diabetes, cardiovascular disease, cancer and other fields.
What Samples does the Harry Perkins Biobank Preserve?
The HPB integrates samples from a number of sources including:
- The Australian Childhood Diabetes DNA Repository (ACDDR) contains over 6600 samples from 2,000 families recruited nationwide, and was funded as an Enabling Program of the National Health and Medical Research Council of Australia;
- The Environmental Determinants of Islet Autoimmunity Study (ENDIA). ENDIA is a nationwide effort involving 97 researchers whose goal is to identify environmental causes of Type 1 diabetes. It was funded by JDRF International and Helmsley Charitable Trust;
- The WA Cardiovascular Disease Repository, collecting samples from 2000 patients undergoing angiography at Fiona Stanley Hospital, funded by MTP Connect under the Australian Government’s Medical Research Future Fund;
- The Royal Perth Hospital Diabetes Survey holds samples from over 1600 people with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes;
- The WA Cancer Repository, containing samples from patients diagnosed with various cancers, including melanoma, breast cancer, colon cancer, etc.
All these samples and their associated data will be curated by the HPB and will be available to qualified researchers with appropriate ethics approvals.
Can you help?
The WA Heart Disease Repository is currently seeking volunteers to provide a simple saliva sample, especially people over the age of 75 who have not been diagnosed with heart disease.
If you or someone you know would like to help researchers to develop tests for heart disease, please contact Bek Brittain at The Harry Perkins Institute for Medical Research on +61 8 6151 0757. Bek will describe the study, provide consent forms and arrange for the saliva sample to be collected.