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BBMRI - Large Prospective Cohorts

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Bigger and better data sets for disease study

A European project is uniting the study sets of the European Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure (BBMRI) and other large trials such as the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC). The result will be a multidisciplinary, international research initiative on a uniquely massive scale that can deliver an unprecedented amount of data on diseases.

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Large prospective cohort (LPC) studies follow up initially healthy individuals and then for decades are considered more reliable for the study of disease data. However, they are costly as they require large numbers of subjects. The advent of high-throughput techniques confers particular advantages to LPC studies. The BBMRI-LPC (BBMRI - Large prospective cohorts) project aims to facilitate scientists' access to LPC studies on human health and disease. The consortium has applied excellence in networking and training in its first phase to achieve its first scientific call in April 2014. Dissemination has so far been very wide-reaching and includes the project website that now features a 'Helpdesk for the emerging biobanks' and a 'Biobanking article of the week'. Workshops, forum meetings and collection of a list of 54 emerging biobanks for training and networking have also been executed. The basis of a white paper has been prepared for promoting public-private partnerships within the legal arm of BBMRI, BBMRI-ERIC and BBMRI-LPC. Participation in boards of bodies including Biological and Medical Sciences and Biomed Bridges has strengthened collaboration and networking efforts. Exploratory contacts with industry have also been initiated. To obtain data on the available cohorts, members have drawn up approved standard operating procedures. Preparation of a report is underway on the ethical and legal requirements for access and large-scale transnational sharing of data and samples. According to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), biobanks are an essential part of the infrastructure underpinning life sciences and biotechnology. The BBMRI-LPC research infrastructure will further implement European Research Area (ERA) visions by creating a network together with BBMRI to establish a centre of knowledge. This proposed network will promote development of innovative diagnostics and therapeutics in Europe, extending worldwide. The initiative will also facilitate multinational studies as a result of coordination and increased access to resources. Long term, the impacts should be felt in personalised medicine and other emerging new biomedical industries at the frontiers of health research.


Disease, biobanking, biomolecular resources, large prospective cohort, health research

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