Clinical Research Office. A partnership between Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust and the University of Sheffield

Sheffield researchers boost drive to national DNA programme with senior NHS figures signing up as first recruits

 

Researchers in Sheffield have joined a groundbreaking that collects genetic and lifestyle information from people with and without health conditions that can be recalled for future research 

The team from the Sheffield National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) Biomedical Research Centre, hosted by Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust in partnership with The University of Sheffield, are one of 18 centres across the country to join the national repository recruitment programme which has so far collected over 250,000 biological samples from people with and without health conditions across the country. 

Joining the NIHR BioResource is easy, with participants donating a blood or saliva sample and completing a health and lifestyle questionnaire. These samples are then stored in a central bioresource bank alongside linked clinical and demographic information. 

Once stored, the donated DNA is available to researchers for relevant studies without them having to seek out samples. This streamlines vital health and care research and helps to develop new treatments, cures and health programmes. 

Participants may also be identified as being of interest for other research studies, again providing a vital bank of information that speeds up crucial healthcare research. 

A special recruitment launch day was held by the NIHR Sheffield Biomedical Research Centre at the Royal Hallamshire Hospital’s NIHR Sheffield Clinical Research Facility on Friday 15 December. 

Professor Dame Pamela Shaw, Director of the NIHR Sheffield Biomedical Research Centre, who was the first recruit, said: “The NIHR BioResource Bank is an important collaboration for both researchers and the public to understand the causes and pathways of disease. I have dedicated my career to improving the treatment and care of people with long-term health conditions, and am proud to have become the first of hopefully many recruits to the Sheffield BioResource Centre.” 

Dr David Black, Medical Director (Development) Sheffield Teaching Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust, who also volunteered to be recruited to the NIHR BioResource Bank, said: "The NIHR BioResource Bank helps find treatments, cures and develops health tests and public health programmes for people of all ages, gender and race. I was delighted to come along and support the launch of this important national initiative in Sheffield. Donating my blood was straightforward, and the team’s first recruitment day was well organised and professionally run.” 

Luke Barron, NIHR Sheffield Biomedical Research Centre Operations Manager, said: “We were really pleased with our first ever BioResource recruitment event, which resulted in 40 recruits to this innovative programme. Our aim is to take recruitment as far and as wide as possible, including to community outreach venues, as the NIHR Bioresource enables researchers to access a large bank of biological information and linked clinical and demographic data at ease. This not only reduces costs and time but speeds up the delivery of vital health and care research.” 

The recruitment event was supported by trained nurses and clinical trials assistants from the NIHR Sheffield Clinical Research Facility. The team will now look to run more outreach community events, making it even easier for others to donate their samples and contribute to improving health and wellbeing for everyone. 

The NIHR Sheffield Biomedical Research Centre aims to recruit 800 people to the bioresource bank a year. If you are interested in registering your interest in joining the Sheffield BioResource Bank please email sth.sheffieldbioresource@nhs.net. 

ENDS 

Mays Baidoun, Clinical Trials Assistant takes Dr David Black blood during the Sheffield BioResource Bank launch day