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UK Biocentre partners with Our Future Health to process and store millions of biological samples

The biggest ever UK health research programme aims to discover how life-threatening diseases can be detected, treated and prevented more effectively

UK Biocentre, a world leader in sample processing, will play a key role in the UK’s largest ever health research programme, Our Future Health, which aims to transform the prevention, detection and treatment of diseases and health conditions such as cancer, dementia, heart disease, arthritis, diabetes, and stroke.

UK Biocentre has been selected to process and store up to 50 million samples from adults across the UK which will be collected during the study. These important samples will support vital research to discover and develop new methods of early detection and treatment of diseases that leave many people unwell for a large part of their later life.

From Summer 2022, Our Future Health will recruit up to five million UK adults to create a detailed picture that truly reflects the population. It is hoped the research will pave the way for a bold new approach to healthcare in the NHS, focused on detecting life-changing conditions before symptoms appear, leading to better treatment outcomes and people living longer, healthier lives.

UK Biocentre’s purpose-built laboratories in Milton Keynes have been designed specifically for the world-leading management, processing, and analysis of biological samples for biomedical research. UK Biocentre will use the latest automated technologies to:

  • Receive and process up to 10,000 blood samples per day
  • Process fresh blood samples to constituent aliquots for future biological analysis
  • Extract DNA from blood samples for future genetic analysis
  • Store up to 50 million aliquoted blood samples in fully automated storage systems at -80°C for future research use.

Use of dedicated automated systems ensures millions of samples can be processed accurately, archived efficiently, and retrieved at speed when required.

Andrew Roddam, CEO of Our Future Health, said: “We’re delighted that UK Biocentre will be one of our key partners supporting us in the processing of our participants’ blood samples and be solely responsible for the long-term ultra-low temperature sample storage. Their wealth of experience will ensure our volunteers’ samples are in good hands.”

Dr Tony Cox OBE, CEO at UK Biocentre, said: “We are delighted to support Our Future Health, a ground-breaking research programme, which will lead to more of us living healthier lives for longer. Our strong track record, expertise and scale mean we can process and store the 50 million samples from the volunteers who take part in the Our Future Health study. We look forward to playing our part and working with all partners involved on this nationally significant programme.”

UK Biocentre has a successful track record in high-capacity processing and storing samples. Its staff of 800 supported the nation’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic by testing more than 30 million samples. UK Biocentre stores samples for more than a hundred organisations including the Government, academic institutions, the NHS, and other research partners.

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