Almost 900 scientists have registered with UK Biobank and are gearing up to use this pioneering health resource. Of these, the majority are from the UK, with around 15% coming from overseas.
The applications span a wide range of diseases, from visual and hearing impairment to complex disease risks, stroke, chronic pain, heart and lung disease, diabetes, eye diseases, mental and dental health, and the links between smoking, alcohol, obesity and physical activity to illness.
Many more research proposals are expected in the months and years ahead. UK Biobank will become increasingly valuable as it tracks disease over the very long-term – up to 30 years and more.
UK Biobank opened to researchers in March, having obtained detailed information about the lives, health and wellbeing of its 500,000 participants. Only information that does not identify participants will be provided to researchers.
The project is starting to follow health, and to develop enhancements and undertake repeat measurements to provide yet more helpful information to health scientists in the future.
Any bona fide scientist undertaking health research for the public good is able to register with the UK Biobank resource. Applications are checked to ensure they meet UK Biobank’s criteria and then data, or the results of tests on blood, urine and saliva, will be released to them.
Scientists are obliged to give their results back to UK Biobank, and so provide more up-to-data information for other researchers to use.
Summaries of the data can be viewed via UK Biobank’s online Data Showcase. Information on recent deaths and cases of cancer has just been added, as has data from recent web-based diet questionnaires.
Scientists wishing to register with the Resource can do so by visiting the UK Biobank Access Management System. UK Biobank is also pulling together key research disease groups, so that they can formulate plans of how best to use the data from the study.