Thursday, 28 May 2015

Monash built biorepository launched today for the future

The Monash University built biorepository in the Alfred Medical Research & Education Precinct (AMREP) signals an innovative and exciting time for medical research. This valuable resource will store millions of blood, urine and saliva samples for future research that may identify disease traits or predictors.

Professor John McNeil, Head of SPHPM, said that interest in biobank data is increasing worldwide as researchers learn more about biomarkers, and that the Monash biorepository will play an important role in this area of scientific research.

Research on biospecimens may provide the bridge between a participant’s physical health and what is happening at a genetic or cellular level.

Professor Christina Mitchell, Dean of the Monash Faculty of Medicine, Nursing and Health Sciences said that this biorepository is unique in that it will store samples for a variety of scientific studies and research areas. Many existing biobanks and biorepositories are dedicated to a particular area of research only, for example cancer.

The state-of-the-art architecturally designed biorepository is already home to a biobank of samples from the ASPREE (ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly) study being undertaken by researchers from SPHPM. This large Australian research initiative aims to assist in identifying biological factors for the onset of diseases affecting the elderly.

More than 12,200 participants in the study have provided baseline samples for biobanking. So far, 3000 participants have provided an additional three year follow up sample. Each banked biospecimen is linked to a wealth of clinical information about participants’ health, collected during annual ASPREE study visits and medical records. 

All samples must be collected, processed and frozen within a strict four hour time limit to preserve their integrity. Each sample is de-identified, barcoded and divided into 64 aliquots (portions) for long term storage at -80◦ C or -190◦ C, depending on their components, for example blood cells are stored at -80◦.

In the future, researchers will be able to analyse the samples from ASPREE participants who develop later onset disease, such as dementia and cancer, versus those who do not. 

The biorepository will be home to biospecimens from a diverse range of studies and research undertaken by SPHPM and the University.

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