Victoria. BC – Northern BC will soon have the first biobank of its kind in the province. A collection of biological samples that capture valuable health info about the local community, the Northern Biobank Initiative Phase 2 will help researchers to understand the demographic and genetic makeup of different populations throughout the province.
Led by Dr. Nadine Caron – associate professor, UBC department of surgery, affiliate University of Northern British Columbia faculty member with the northern medical program – the project is part of Genome British Columbia’s User Partner Program and funded by Genome British Columbia, Northern Health Authority, the First Nations Health Authority, Provincial Health Services Authority and the BC Cancer Foundation. The project totals $1.25 million with each partner group contributing $250,000. The University of Northern British Columbia is the lead academic institution managing the research administration for the project. The BC Cancer Foundation has fully funded the first phase of the biobank project.
Northern Biobank Initiative Phase 2 will make it easier for local patients to choose to participate in research that is taking place across B.C. and Canada. Initial areas of focus will likely include colorectal, breast and thyroid cancer with the capability to add other complex diseases. The Northern Biobank initiative will be able to work together with other large-scale biospecimen collections in B.C. and across Canada.
“Having a local biobank means that people of the North can keep pace with and benefit from the rapid advances being made in precision medicine,” said Dr. Caron. “This project will allow us to optimize our understanding of our northern and Aboriginal patient populations and inform the approaches best suited for our community. It will also better enable this community to contribute to large-scale research happening across the province and nationally.”