Biobank target hit early

Published

Ishbel Begg

In a landmark initiative, over a quarter of a million people have been recruited for UK Biobank, the world’s largest medical study.

The multi-million pound project aims to provide the biggest bank of health information ever collected, so as to provide future researchers with data that can be used to identify links between health, lifestyle and genetics.

University of Glasgow Professor Jill Pell, who is leading UK Biobank in Scotland, said: “To hit this target ahead of schedule — and with more than 18,500 people in Glasgow signing up — is fantastic news. It shows that the public are willing to help us gain a greater understanding of our health and to help future generations.”

The first project of this size and scale, UK Biobank will allow researchers in decades to come to study, in-depth, the role genes, lifestyle and environment play in relation to a wide range of medical conditions, including cancer, dementia, diabetes and depression.

Thousands of invitations have been sent to people living in Glasgow, with the ultimate goal of recruiting half a million people from across Britain.

Participants aged 40-69 years old provide information about their current health and lifestyle, as well as blood and urine samples for future analysis. Permission is also obtained for UK Biobank to track their health for up to 30 years and more.

The £61m project is being funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC), the Wellcome Trust, the Department of Health, the Scottish Executive and the Northwest Regional Development Agency.