UK Biobank expanding data with Thermo’s Nautilus LIMS

At the UK Biobank, LIMS will track, store, manage and report on the biological data of 500,000 people.

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PHILADELPHIA—Thermo Electron Corp., a leading provider of analyt­ical instrumentation and labora­tory information management sys­tems (LIMS), has implemented its Nautilus LIMS at the UK Biobank. There, the system will track, store, manage and report on the biologi­cal data of 500,000 people as part of what is reportedly one of the largest medical research projects ever conducted.
"Thermo's experience serving the health sciences and pharma­ceutical industries combined with the flexibility and adaptability of Nautilus made Nautilus the obvi­ous choice for the data manage­ment of this massive project," said Hemal Rajani, LIMS manager for UK Biobank. "The Biobank is expected to grow from one clinic to 15 by the end of 2007, with all sites feeding biological samples that will be entered into and tracked by the LIMS. Several decision-makers on the LIMS selection team had previous experience with Nautilus and feel confident it's the best tool for this project."
UK Biobank is a long-term national project in the United Kingdom to build the world's most detailed information resource for medical researchers. It will follow the health of 500,000 volunteers aged 40 to 69 in the country for up to 30 years. Following consent, each participant will be asked to donate a blood and urine sample, have some standard measure­ments (such as blood pressure) and complete a confidential life­style questionnaire. Over the next 20 to 30 years, UK Biobank will allow fully approved researchers to use these resources to study the progression of illnesses such as cancer, heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer's disease. From this they hope to develop new and bet­ter ways of preventing, diagnos­ing and treating such problems. Data and samples will only be used for ethically and scientifically approved research.
The UK Biobank participates in a LIMS user group with two other biobank organizations using Nautilus—the Hunt Biobank in Norway and the Singapore Tissue Network. Rajani said the three organizations are doing similar work, using the many of the same tools and are collaborating on methods involving Nautilus.
Though Nautilus offers flex­ibility in workflows required by research and development organi­zations, the UK Biobank has con­figured the LIMS to follow certain and fixed workflows so all samples follow the same protocols for test­ing and storage. The collected data will be made available to research­ers studying the impact of genet­ics, lifestyle and environment on health.
To appropriately archive the vast amount of data generated by the UK Biobank study, Nautilus is part of an automated system that receives samples, fractions them into appropriate vessels for test­ing, analysis and storage, and then tracks and stores all data relative to the sample. The LIMS will be used to provide daily updates and management reports.

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