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Minister hears of Biobank progress

29 January 2008

Biobank PUSH lecture thumb

Welsh Assembly Government minister Jane Hutt heard details of one of the largest and most complex medical studies ever mounted at the recent Science in Health Public Lecture.

The Minister for Children, Education, Lifelong Learning and Skills was among an audience including school pupils and members of the public who heard Dr John Gallacher of the School of Medicine and Professor Rory Collins of the University of Oxford discuss the UK Biobank project.

Biobank takes information on health and related matters from volunteers and then tracks them over the following 30 years. The aim is to create an enormous database to help researchers study the links between genetics, environment and other factors in the causation of disease. The School of Medicine is taking the lead on Biobank Cymru, the all-Wales contribution to the project.

The lecture, at the School of Medicine, dealt with the medical aims of the study and also the legal and ethical issues surrounding the storage of information regarding individuals. Dr Gallacher said Biobank and other large-scale studies heralded "a new age of epidemiology."

The next lecture in the Science in Health series is on Thursday, February 21, when Professor Neil Ferguson of Imperial College talks on ‘Avian flu – threat or hype’? The talk, in Lecture Theatre 1 at the School of Medicine, starts at 7.30pm and is free.