The Mayo Clinic Biobank is a collection of samples and health information donated by volunteers. The Biobank makes it easier for researchers to perform studies because samples and information from many different people will be available in one place. Researchers use a biobank like a library. When they want to study something, they can use biobank samples instead of finding new ones.
We hope this information will answer your questions about this project and why it is so valuable to Mayo Clinic, our patients and the future of medicine.
What is a biobank?
A biobank is a collection of biological samples (such as blood) and health information. Biobanks can be large and hold thousands of samples, or they may be small and hold only a few hundred samples. Different biobanks collect different types of samples and information. The types of information and samples collected depend on the specific purpose of the biobank. For example, some biobanks are specific to a particular disease, such as cancer. Other biobanks are population based and contain samples and information from people in a specific population or region.
How does a biobank make performing research easier?
A biobank serves as a library for researchers. Therefore, the time and resources needed to recruit new participants for each study is greatly reduced because samples and corresponding medical information are available in one place. By making sample collection and patient recruitment more efficient, studies can be performed in a more timely fashion.
What kinds of places create and use biobanks?
- Research centers
- Organizations that study specific diseases
Have other biobanks been successful?
Yes. Biobanks are a very important part of performing medical research and have aided in many studies with important implications for improving health. For example, studies using samples from different biobanks have allowed researchers to learn more about:
- Safe and effective treatment doses of anti-seizure medications and medicines used to treat heart disease
- Genetic changes that may increase a person's risk of osteoporosis, rheumatoid arthritis, asthma or certain cancers