UNMC biobank to offer patients way to contribute to advancing medical knowledge,The University of Nebraska Medical Center has established a biobank - a large collection of biologic samples that will help scientists more quickly move research breakthroughs into benefits for patients.
The University of Nebraska Medical Center has established a biobank — a large collection of biologic samples that will help scientists more quickly move research breakthroughs into benefits for patients.
The biobank, expected to open by December, will be a tremendous resource for UNMC’s scientists, said Jennifer Larsen, M.D., vice chancellor for research.
Patients treated at UNMC clinics and The Nebraska Medical Center, UNMC’s hospital partner, will have the opportunity to donate blood from blood tests for research instead of having it discarded after tests are complete. Personal information will be removed to protect the confidentiality of the donor. A peer-review committee will monitor the materials’ use.
DNA and serum withdrawn from the biobank will enable scientists to bridge research between animal models and clinical trials.
“It can serve as preliminary evidence for funding requests for new areas of clinical research and clinical trials,” Dr. Larsen said.
It also can tell the scientists themselves if they are on the right track. UNMC already has multiple, condition-specific biobanks with samples from people who have consented to help with a certain area of study.
But, the need for a larger resource is vital, Dr. Larsen said, noting the dilemma faced by UNMC’s pancreatic cancer team. “For five years, they’ve tried to recruit individuals who may be at risk for pancreatic cancer to test new biomarkers of risk and they still haven’t received the number of samples they need,” she said.
UNMC’s new biobank could allow multiple investigators to more quickly test these new markers of disease in people with, and without, a particular disease.
The project, funded by the Nebraska Research Initiative and UNMC, is being developed with staff and expertise from the Clinical Research Center at The Nebraska Medical Center and UNMC scientists from genomics, bioinformatics and various clinical labs.
Children’s Hospital & Medical Center also is interested in the project and is considering being a part of it, Dr. Larsen said. UNMC’s biobank will be a key cog in UNMC’s translational research, Dr. Larsen said: “So we spend more time working on things that matter.”
Through world-class research and patient care, UNMC generates breakthroughs that make life better for people throughout Nebraska and beyond. Its education programs train more health professionals than any other institution in the state. Learn more at unmc.edu.
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