Read This Before Your Next Doctor Visit
These days it’s hard to find someone whose life hasn’t been touched by cancer in some way. The current statistics say that while the chances of contracting cancer in your lifetime is still somewhat high, 1 in 2 for men or 1 in 3 for women, in the general the deaths from cancer are slowly decreasing over time. That being said, an estimated 1.5 million people will be diagnosed with cancer in 2015.
One way medical researchers are fighting back is through using resources like biobanks. A biobank is a repository of human blood and tissue samples that researchers use to do research and test procedures in order to help find cures for diseases. Many biobanks are founded specifically for researching one disease, while only some are founded for general or environmental research, and all need special freezer inventory software to keep track of all of their samples.
However, the samples donated cannot be used forever. When biobanking, researchers need to keep a close eye on their freezer inventory in order to be able to conduct their research properly. A recent study with several hundred researchers showed that nearly half of them couldn’t find quality samples.
So why should you be interested in donating to a biobank?
- It helps advance medical research. Researcher use sequencing to study gene markers, and closely examine cancerous cells. This allows them to more fully understand who develops cancer, why they do, how it can be prevented, and how it might be cured.
- They always need new samples. Samples are most often taken when people come in for treatment, or when someone specifically donates for a cause. A laboratory sample is only taken with consent from the patient before it becomes a part of the freezer inventory, but samples become old or overused, requiring new samples all the time.
- They need a lot of samples. Good research requires a lot of different data, thus good biorepository management and good researching needs samples from every kind of person with every kind of background. The more information they have, the quicker researchers are able to produce quality medicine and treatments.
Donation is simple and fairly painless, so if you are interested in donating samples, talk to your primary care physician.