Increasingly, pathologists and clinical laboratories are playing a role in genetic research and biobanking by providing specimens. One credible example of this expanding trend is found at The Mayo Clinic, in Rochester, Minnesota. Its biobank wants to gather genetic material from 20,000 participants.
The biobank has already collected specimens from more than 8,300 patients who come from Minnesota, Iowa, Wisconsin, the Dakotas, and other states. Mayo researchers are analyzing this genetic material to support research projects on heart disease, leukemia and cancers of the breast, the colon, and the lungs.
This effort is of interest to clinical laboratory managers and pathologists because it demonstrates how biobanking is evolving into a more sophisticated, even interactive endeavor that connects researchers with the sources of the specimens. At Mayo, pathologists and researchers are interacting with patients in ways that were not previously possible. Mayo’s biobank venture has a Community Advisory Board (CAB), for example, to ensure that the voice of the community is heard in the development of the biobank’s policies.