Major initiative to analyse blood samples to facilitate medical research

25th June 2018
Posted By : Alex Lynn
Major initiative to analyse blood samples to facilitate medical research

The biomarker profiles of 500,000 blood samples from UK Biobank will be analysed by Nightingale Health. The research initiative was announced at the 2018 UK Biobank Scientific Conference in London. 

Nightingale’s biomarker profiling technology will be used to analyse UK Biobank blood samples by measuring metabolic biomarkers that recent studies have found are predictive of future risk for heart disease, type 2 diabetes and many other common chronic diseases. Until recently, technological constraints and prohibitive costs have prevented the analysis of comprehensive metabolic data from large-scale biobank collections, but this process has been made viable by Nightingale’s technology, which measures over 200 metabolic biomarkers in a single blood test.
This initiative will further enrich public health database provided by the UK Biobank.

Professor Sir Rory Collins, UK Biobank’s Principal Investigator, said: “We are delighted to see these novel blood sample analyses being done in UK Biobank. We already have an enormous amount of information about the lifestyles and genetic make-up of the participants in UK Biobank, as well as about their health, and are currently conducting imaging studies of their brains, hearts and bodies. Providing the medical research community with these additional high quality metabolic biomarker data on such a large scale will enhance discovery science and population science, providing opportunities to benefit patient care and public health.”

Dr. Peter Würtz, Scientific Director and Founder, Nightingale Health, added: “Analysing 500,000 blood samples from a single study with Nightingale’s comprehensive biomarker profiling technology allows us to uncover metabolic signatures that reflect a risk for future disease onset, as well as their underlying risk factors. We anticipate this detailed molecular readout of the health state, combining both lifestyle and genetic makeup, will result in a wealth of scientific applications from the research community. This will be relevant not only to the British population but also yield ground-breaking science and enhanced drug development opportunities with a global public health impact.”

Nightingale Health’s technology has been previously used to analyse more than 500,000 blood samples from over 200 cohort studies and clinical trials around the globe, with more than 150 peer-reviewed publications showcasing how the detailed metabolic biomarker data provide novel insights into health and disease.

Teemu Suna, CEO and Founder, Nightingale Health, explained: “Our aim is to translate this understanding into improved early prediction of diabetes and cardiovascular diseases, achieving better healthcare for everyone.”

The initiative corresponds to an over €10m investment in UK Biobank and will be funded by Nightingale Health, with analyses of UK Biobank samples being performed at Nightingale’s laboratory in Finland. In line with the founding principles of the UK Biobank, this metabolomic data will be incorporated back into the UK Biobank's resource following a nine month exclusivity period for Nightingale Health and made openly available to the scientific community.


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