The vital role of UK Biobank

UK Biobank is a major national and international health resource, and a registered charity in its own right, with the aim of improving the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of serious and life-threatening illnesses – including cancer, heart diseases, stroke, diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis, eye disorders, depression and forms of dementia.

UK Biobank recruited 500,000 people aged between 40-69 years in 2006-2010 from across the country to take part in this project.  I was one of them and I am pleased to be contributing to this vital project.

Participants have undergone measures, provided blood, urine and saliva samples for future analysis, detailed information about themselves and agreed to have their health followed. Over many years, this will build into a powerful resource to help scientists discover why some people develop particular diseases and others do not.

One of the world’s leading health research geneticists took time out of his schedule to address this year’s UK Biobank Scientific Conference. He reminded attendees how, with the help of half a million participants and support from funders like the MRC and Wellcome, UK Biobank is transforming health research in the UK and overseas.

The provision of information about illness, lifestyle, diet, activity and genetics and much more “shared freely with other approved researchers, is world changing,” Dr Eric Lander, from Harvard, USA told delegates. “It’s what we always dreamed of.”

You can learn more about UK Biobank here.


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