News & Views
UK Biobank Opened by HRH Princess Anne
Oct 13 2009
The UK Biobank facility at Cheadle, designed to store around 10 million human samples for use in clinical studies, was officially opened at the end of July by HRH Princess Anne.
The Automation Partnership’s (TAP) PolarTM sample management system at the heart of the centre, currently provides automated storage, retrieval and tracking of more than five million human blood and urine samples provided by over 300,000 voluntary participants. Funded by the Medical Research Council, the Wellcome Trust biomedical research charity, the Department of Health, Scottish Government, Northwest Regional Development Agency and the Welsh Assembly Government, UK Biobank will be used by researchers to uncover the genetic and environmental factors that lead to a wide range of chronic, painful and life-threatening disorders, including cancer, heart disease, diabetes and Alzheimer’s disease.
During the visit staff were on hand to explained to The Princess that the engineering behind the Polar system was designed to enable it to maintain the samples at –80°C over the next 25 years. It had also been nominated as a finalist in the prestigious Royal Academy of Engineering 2008 MacRobert Award.
Expressing his delight that the The Princess came to open the facilty, Dr Tim Peakman, Executive Director of the UK Biobank added that TAP’s “automated inventory management system will help to ensure researchers can access this premier health resource for many years to come.”
Nick Cooke, COO at TAP, stated: “Designing and producing the world’s largest low temperature inventory management system was a significant challenge and we are proud to have had the opportunity to showcase the completed archive at the UK Biobank’s official opening.”
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