Mayo Clinic launches biobank in Arizona, expanding diversity research

Mayo Clinic has again broadened the base of its genomic research efforts by establishing a biobank at its Arizona campus, which will support studies in obesity, metabolism and diabetes, all areas of special concern in the Latino population. The Sangre por Salud Biobank is a collaboration among Mayo, Mountain Park Health Center and Arizona State University. Biobanks are an integral component of Mayo's Center for Individualized Medicine.

"We want to do everything we can to involve the Latino population in biomedical research so we can focus on their specific health issues and better represent an accurate sampling in our biobank," says Lawrence Mandarino, Ph.D., Mayo Clinic Biobank director in Arizona. "And while there's been a lack of access to research opportunities, there certainly isn't a lack of interest. People are willing to participate." Participants who are registered Mountain Park Health Center patients learn about the biobank from their clinical providers.

A goal of the biobank is to offer research opportunities to patients from Mountain Park Health Center, which operates several clinics in the greater Phoenix area. While the biobank will support all types of medical studies, a special emphasis will be given to projects on cardiometabolic risk and obesity—the single largest health burden to the population. Patients, ages 18 to 85 are enrolled regardless of their health background.

Patients may join the biobank only after being fully informed about the biobank procedure and purpose, and signing a consent document. The biobank allows researchers to use the genomic resource in the future, instead of seeking samples and consent for each project. The goal is to enroll 2,000 Mountain Park participants over the next four years, and already over 100 have enrolled.

"We're excited to collaborate with Mayo Clinic in this effort that will advance research and contribute to the wellbeing of our diverse patient population," says Davinder Singh, M.D., co-investigator from Mountain Park Health Center. "This collaboration allows us to identify appropriate interventions for medical problems diagnosed through the enrollment."

Mayo Clinic Biobank has also expanded participation to the Mayo Clinic Health System, its group of primary care clinics and hospitals in Wisconsin, Minnesota and Iowa, with the first participants from clinics in LaCrosse and Onalaska, Wisconsin.

The Biobank began on Mayo's Rochester, Minn. campus in 2009. A Florida component added last year has an enrollment goal of 5,000. Nationally, the goal is to have 50,000 participants by 2016, including 5,000 from the Mayo Clinic Health System. Mayo's Biobank differs from most in that it not only collects biological samples for genomic studies, but it links that information to data from the participant's medical record.

More information: Mayo Clinic's peer-reviewed medical journal, Mayo Clinic Proceedings, has just published two articles covering the evolution and research of the Mayo Clinic Biobank: The Mayo Clinic Biobank: A Building Block for Individualized Medicine www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/… (13)00479-5/fulltext by Janet E. Olson, Ph.D., et al, and Hospitalizations and Emergency Department Use in Mayo Clinic Biobank Participants Within the Employee and Community Health Medical Home www.mayoclinicproceedings.org/… (13)00558-2/fulltext by Paul Takahashi, M.D., M.P.H., et al.

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