With your help, 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, a leading geneticist from Harvard, USA told the 2018 UK Biobank scientific conference. “It’s what we always dreamed of.”
UK Biobank has made lots of progress over the past year. 2018 is set to be our busiest year for approving studies, and more than 7,500 health researchers have registered since 2012.
We have also simplified the research access process and up-dated our online registration and application procedures. Meanwhile, strict rules remain in place to ensure the resource is used properly, and that researchers cannot identify participants.
We have approved a multi-million pound project led by Regeneron to generate more genetic data from the blood samples you donated to the resource. This was followed quickly by a grant of £30 million from the government-funded MRC to analyse the genes of 50,000 participants in the most detail possible. We are optimistic that government, business and charity will come together to pay for the other 450,000 samples.
We have delved deeper into the physical activity data that 100,000 participants very kindly generated by wearing a wrist monitor for a week. And we have made available to researchers a host of measures on blood biochemistry, such as levels of cholesterol, vitamin D, calcium and glucose.
Rory Collins, UK Biobank Principal Investigator, said: “Our goal is to make sure UK Biobank is being used effectively to tackle the widest range of diseases. We see the research community working together to get the best out of UK Biobank, and that is changing the way scientists think about research and opening up lots of new avenues to explore.”