Cardiff University Biobank officially opened

Cardiff University has opened a brand new facility with the capacity to hold up to a million biological samples for medical research.

The Cardiff University Biobank, opened on Monday by Health Secretary Vaughan Gething, will give researchers quick and easy access to biological samples to be used in research for the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of serious and life threatening illnesses.

The purpose built facility has just received some of its first new donors in the form of the Cardiff Blues rugby players. The Biobank team spent two days with the squad taking consent and sampling blood, which will be stored at the facility until needed.

Samples collected by the biobank, which is based at the University Hospital of Wales, will include blood, urine, tissue and saliva. They will be made available to academic and commercial organisations undertaking bona fide scientific and health research.

Prior to the creation of the new biobank, Cardiff University hosted eight separate tissue banking facilities, with several others in preparation. The new facility will provide an umbrella support structure for each of these, ensuring their long-term sustainability and the continuation of robust governance procedures. It will also boost access for researchers to new bio-samples in other disease areas.

Vaughan Gething said “With the launch of the Cardiff University Biobank, Wales now has a world-class facility, providing easier access to a wealth of biological samples vital to the advancement of biomedical research. The benefits will not only be felt by our research community, who will have an improved infrastructure to help them obtain funding for research, but by the people in Wales and beyond who will benefit from advances in medical treatments.”

The Cardiff University Biobank will be looking for anyone aged sixteen and over to donate samples.

Cardiff University Vice-Chancellor, Professor Colin Riordan, said “Biobanks are invaluable resources for biomedical research and play an important role in the development of new drugs and treatments for a variety of conditions. However, none of this would be possible without the generous help of the public who can either donate samples whilst receiving treatment at hospital, or get in touch with a biobank directly. We’d like to thank all of the people who have donated samples over the years, and welcome new donors who would like to help us continue our world-leading biomedical research.”

Chief Executive of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, Adam Cairns, said “The Health Board is delighted to work in partnership with Cardiff University to host the Biobank on the University Hospital of Wales site. Being able to learn from biological samples taken from patients is invaluable as it allows researchers to gain a deeper understanding of diseases and find better ways to diagnose, prevent, treat and possibly find cures to a wide range of medical conditions in the future. The biobank is yet another example of partnership working that puts the patient at the centre of everything we do, and once again shows that Cardiff is leading the way in research.”

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