The total number of patients who have donated blood samples to the Partners Biobank exceeds 15,000. The number of patients who have consented to participate exceeds 17,000.
Patients from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital are currently being recruited to participate in the Partners Biobank. We are not targeting patients based on any specific phenotype.
Based on analyses we’ve performed to date, the patients who have consented to participate in the Partners Biobank represent a broad cross-section of the patient population who are served by Partners hospitals. As a result, there are significant patient subsets with histories of common chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, etc. You can expect that the availability of samples that meet your specific requirements will be similar to the broader patient population as a whole.
We are recruiting about 1,000-1,500 patients per month.
We obtain whole blood from patients to create aliquots of serum, plasma, and DNA for storage in the Partners Biobank. Our goal is to have materials processed and aliquoted within four hours of phlebotomy. Please contact us for further information about sample quality and use for specific applications. While we currently do not collect additional sample types, such as PAXgene tubes for RNA, we can arrange for collection of additional tubes of blood in cases where we know up-front specific materials should be prepared.
The Biobank works with investigators to develop collaborative recruitment, consent and sample collection programs in an effort to reduce the overall costs of research activities. Collaborations usually take the following forms:
• Recruitment and Consent – The Biobank and the investigator create a recruitment and consent program and develop an appropriate consent form. With IRB approval, this program can target a specific population that will be approached for consent. It is possible to combine the Biobank consent form with a study consent form – though it’s critical that the Biobank language remains intact. It is also possible to ask patients to consent to two studies at the same time and keep the consent forms separate. Studies that work with the Biobank on a Recruitment and Consent collaboration may reserve samples for a period of time to ensure that we don’t run out of sample for the consented patients.
• Supplemental Sample Collection – The Biobank collects two supplemental tubes at the time of the blood draw to meet an investigator’s specific requirements. We can obtain different kinds of tubes, including PAXgene tubes for RNA extraction. These supplemental tubes are not placed in the Biobank collection but are provided to the investigator right after collection and processing. They can also be stored in a private collection.
For more information on setting up a collaborative study, please contact us at email@example.com
Partners HealthCare has made significant investments in the IT infrastructure and operations of the Partners Biobank, and investigators who collaborate with the Biobank can significantly leverage this investment. The benefits of collaborating with the Biobank are:
• Leverage Biobank’s recruitment team – Some collaborating studies choose to leverage the Biobank’s Research Coordinators instead of hiring their own staff. Some collaborating studies also chose to use their Research Coordinators but leverage the Biobank’s recruitment tools and software. Both models are possible and are supported by our fee schedule.
• Use Recruitment software – Collaborating studies may leverage the Biobank’s state-of-the art recruitment and consent tracking applications.
• Utilize sample collection and management infrastructure – Collaborating studies may leverage our sample collection processes to obtain supplemental tubes.
• No need to invest in freezers and sample management software – Collaborating studies may chose to place serum, plasma or DNA samples in the Biobank for distribution at a later date, though there is a time limit for reserving samples for collaborating studies. It is also possible to set up a private collection for a fee.
Please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org for a fee schedule. The cost covers patient recruitment, consent, phlebotomy, sample processing, storage, and distribution. It is far lower than the cost observed when individual investigators perform the same work without leveraging the economies of scale that result from this enterprise-wide effort.
The cost of samples is in line with other large biobanking operations, such as the Nurses’ Health Study. Partners HealthCare is currently subsidizing the rest of the associated costs.
The Partners Biobank will initially be open to all accredited Partners-affiliated investigators. Harvard-affiliated investigators wishing to access the services of the Partners Biobank will need to collaborate with a Partners-affiliated investigator to gain access.