Elizabeth Wood Karlson, MD, Co-investigator,Partners HealthCare Biobank and Director, Rheumatic Disease Epidemiology Research Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital, describes the Partners HealthCare Biobank program which enables large numbers of researchers from Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Mass General Hospital, to conduct research on personalized medicine, new treatments, and novel mechanisms of disease.
The goal of the Partners HealthCare Biobank is to uncover the links between an individual's genetics, their family history, and the environment in the development of disease. Understanding a patient's genetic makeup can lead to better health. Based on genetic variants, physicians can screen more aggressively for diseases that their patients are predisposed to and develop plans to reduce the chances of developing specific diseases. Understanding genetic variants can also help predict how an individual will respond to medication. This is known as personalized medicine.
Patients are invited to join the Partners HealthCare Biobank through Patient Gateway, the online patient portal at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Mass General Hospital. The Biobank is primarily collecting DNA, plasma, and serum samples as well as information about lifestyle and environmental survey.
Examples of Partners HealthCare Biobank research projects, led by BWH physicians, include:
- Aneurysms – Dr. Rose Du is using DNA samples to determine the genetic and epigenetic markers that are associated with aneurysm formation, rupture, and the clinical outcomes of aneurysm rupture.
- Cardiomyopathies – Dr. Christine Seidman and her colleagues arestudying the molecular genetic causes of cardiomyopathies, a disease that affects the muscle of the heart.
- Rheumatoid Arthritis – Dr. Elizabeth Karlson is studying how lifestyle factors, such as smoking, obesity, or reproductive factors in women, interact with genes to increase the risk of developing rheumatoid arthritis.
Learn more about the Partners HealthCare Biobank.