More than 12,000 ASPREE participants have donated blood and urine samples for long term storage in this important resource. Research on samples stored in the ASPREE Healthy Ageing Biobank may result in the identification of components (‘biomarkers’), such as proteins or genes that may help predict disease or even good health, in older people.
The ASPREE Healthy Ageing Biobank is the first of its kind with a focus on older people. Because each sample is associated with a wealth of information about each participant’s health, future researchers will be able to compare biosamples from those who develop older onset disease such as dementia and cancer, versus those who do not.
What participation involved
ASPREE participants provided blood and urine samples for biobanking prior to commencing ASPREE study medication (aspirin or a placebo), or within the first 12 months of being in the trial.
All samples were de-identified. The blood was separated into various components – white blood cells, red blood cells, plasma and serum and stored at ultra-low temperatures; all within four hours of the donation. Nothing was wasted!
The Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) funded the initial collection of samples. Further funding from the National Cancer Institute (NCI) enabled the ASPREE Biobank team to collect a follow up sample from more than 10,000 participants, three years after they donated the first sample. Having two samples from the same person will enable researchers to analyse and determine the effect of aspirin on biomarkers in the blood or urine.
For more information:
• ASPREE Biobank brochure • Ring 1800 728 745 (toll free from a landline)
Frequently asked questions about the ASPREE Healthy Ageing Biobank
Where were samples collected?
To reach participants outside these areas, Biobank staff collected and processed samples in a mobile laboratory called the ‘ASPREE Biobus’.
What is the ASPREE Biobus?
Up to 45% of ASPREE Biobank volunteers were from towns and cities in Victoria, Tasmania, Southern NSW and Southern SA. Given each sample must be taken, processed and stored within a strict 4 hour timelimit, this quick turnaround presented quite a challenge! The solution: an ingenious vehicle.
The ASPREE Biobank team designed a mobile laboratory called an ASPREE ‘Biobus’. Each vehicle was fully equipped to collect, process and store samples over several days at a time using a portable -80°C freezers. Specimens were then safely transported back to the main holding freezers in central locations.
The ASPREE Biobus took research to the people – from Melbourne into regional Victoria, up into southern NSW, north Victoria and across the west Victorian border to Mount Gambier in South Australia. The Tasmanian Biobus travelled around the north western of the state near Launceston and Burnie.
In the future, the ASPREE Biobank could lead to the identification of specific blood components to predict good health or disease, to evaluate the therapeutic effectiveness of treatments and the discovery of new diagnostic procedures…… a resource certainly worth traipsing south eastern Australia.
What happened to my samples after they are taken?
Biosamples were barcoded and prepared for long term storage in a Biorepository in Melbourne. Future researchers will need to have human research ethics approval to access the Biobank resource. Strict scientific governance of the ASPREE Biobank maintains participant’s privacy. No individuals will be identified in the results.
How long will my samples be kept in the Biobank?
- Monash University
- Australian National University
- Menzies Research Institute (Tasmania)
- Queen Elizabeth Hospital/University of Adelaide
- University of Melbourne
- St John of God Pathology
- Healthscope Pathology
- Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO)
- Monash University
- The Australian National Health and Medical Research Council (NHMRC)
- Victorian Cancer Agency (VCA)
- National Cancer Institute (NCI)
- Walter Cottman Endowment Fund and Equity Trustees