Last Updated on Thursday, 16 August 2007 08:57 Written by Tim Peakman Thursday, 12 July 2007 08:21
Tim Peakman, UK biobank
UK Biobank - application of industrialisation methodology to the establishment and operation of a biological sample processing facility and ultra low temperature archive
UK Biobank is a large prospective study in the United Kingdom to investigate the role of genetic factors, environmental exposures and lifestyle in the causes of major diseases of late and middle age.Extensive data and biological samples are being collected from 500,000 participants aged between 40 and 69 years. UK Biobank collects about 55mls blood and 10mls of urine from each participant that are transported overnight by commercial courier to a central processing facility where they are processed and aliquots of urine, plasma, serum, white cells and red cells and stored in ultra-low temperature archives. By the end of the recruitment phase, 15 million sample aliquots will be stored in two geographically separate archives: 9.5 million in a -80oC automated archive and 5.5 million in a manual liquid nitrogen archive at -180oC. Because of the size of the study and the numbers of samples obtained from participants, the protocol stipulates a highly automated approach for the processing and storage of samples. Implementation of the processes, technology, systems and facilities has followed best practices used in manufacturing industry to reduce project risk and to build in quality and robustness. The application of techniques from manufacturing engineering to the design and implementation of the UK Biobank sample processing and archiving facility will be discussed.