For healthcare professionals only


Will UK Biobank pay off?

BMJ 2006; 332 doi: (Published 04 May 2006) Cite this as: BMJ 2006;332:1052
  1. Geoff Watts
  1. London

    UK Biobank has been promised £61m funding to collect data about genetic and environmental factors that affect human health and disease. But how exactly these data will be exploited is still uncertain, as Geoff Watts reports

    Although the funders of biomedical research are occasionally prepared to undertake modest acts of faith, the promise of a wholly immodest £61m (€88; $111m) points to belief verging on certainty. The funders in this case are the Wellcome Trust, the Medical Research Council, and the Department of Health. And the fortunate recipient of their largesse is UK Biobank. Launched in March, this ambitious project continues to generate controversy.

    Previous prospective studies of health and disease have been designed to assess the contributions of environment, behaviour, and family history. But from the outset UK Biobank was to be different—more subjects, more conditions, and an intention to exploit recent insights into the human genome.

    Commentators agree that the United Kingdom, with its vast pool of accessible health service records, is the ideal setting for such a study. UK Biobank will recruit and follow up 500 000 …

    View Full Text

    Log in

    Log in through your institution


    * For online subscription