Mount Sinai Charles R. Bronfman Institute for Personalized Medicine Biobank Enrolls 14,000
The Mount Sinai IPM Biobank, a unique institution that serves Mount Sinai’s many genomic research projects, has enrolled 14,000 Mount Sinai patients.
The Mount Sinai IPM Biobank, a unique institution that serves Mount Sinai’s many genomic research projects, has enrolled 14,000 Mount Sinai patients who provided samples of DNA and blood plasma since opening its doors on September 17, 2007. Part of The Charles R. Bronfman Institute for Personalized Medicine, the Biobank is now signing up approximately 600 donors each month. The goal is to gather 50,000 samples within the next four years.
By providing researchers with the DNA and blood plasma samples from donors, the Biobank is helping scientists identify how a patient’s genes affect his or her susceptibility to particular diseases, and determine whether treatments for those diseases will be effective.
The Biobank offers scientists an extremely valuable platform for genomic research by providing access to a diverse spectrum of DNA samples. One area of research, for example, is in Type 2 diabetes. Investigators are working to determine whether they can prevent or delay the onset of the disease in patients with metabolic syndrome—a condition that indicates they’re pre-diabetic. Researchers believe certain genetic markers can predict whether or not a patient will respond to say, weight loss or increased exercise, or by taking metformin, a widely used drug prescribed for diabetes.
The Biobank is one of several institutions of its kind in the United States. The ethnic diversity of its 14,000 plus donors makes it particularly unique, says Erwin P. Bottinger, MD, Director of the Bronfman Institute. "The heterogeneity of the DNA and plasma samples we’ve collected is a direct reflection of the ethnic diversity of New York City," says Dr. Bottinger. "This is a very important tool for understanding how the diversity of a given population may affect the efficacy of a specific treatment regimen."
Great care is taken to protect the privacy of those who donate their genetic material to the Biobank, and the organization has been awarded a "Certificate of Confidentiality" from the National Institutes of Health (NIH). Samples are identified by a code number, and no names are ever released to researchers unless by donor approval. "All samples are ‘de-identified’ before they get to the researchers," says Dr. Bottinger.
This spring, the NIH is expected to decide whether to allow Mount Sinai’s Biobank and eight others in the United States to create a large database consortium that could accelerate the pace of medical research.