The BioVU DNA databank receives leftover blood from regular laboratory test samples, extracts the DNA and storebanks it in a genetic library bank. These DNA samples are linked to medical record information in a manner that removes all patient identifiers, and generate an innovative, powerful discovery science tool. In the Synthetic Derivative database, a patient's medical records are de-identified, or "scrubbed" clean of identifying information. The description of medical events is retained and linked with the DNA by an anonymous code. Parents of pediatric patients, like adult patients, will be given the opportunity to decline their child's participation, or opt out.
The BioVU "DNA databank" has been in place for approximately two years for Vanderbilt's adult patients, and has been an exceptional research resource. Beginning in Fall 2009, the sample collection has been broadened to include children. About 15,000 pediatric samples will be added to the databank each year to complement the accrual of 50,000 adult samples per year. There are some 70,000 adult samples now, making it the largest DNA biobank in North America. The goal is to have approximately 300,000 samples to understand the links between illness and disease and an individual's genetic code as well as to provide the foundation for personalized medicine.
A series of public service advertisements to let the public know about the project have been implemented, and this information has been met with great community support to enhance child health. Moreover, the National Institutes of Health have supported this program by funding expenses for equipment to handle small pediatric samples, which can be less than a third the size of the samples provided by adults.
Learn more about using BioVU and upcoming information sessions.
For more information to share with your patients and to answer any questions they may have, please visit Vanderbilt BioVU on the Children's Hospital Web site.