Cambridge CardioResource has been established to test the feasibility, acceptability and scalability of different approaches for collecting research samples and data, within the NHS Blood and Transplant (NHSBT) framework, for the study of genetic and environmental influences on cardiovascular diseases.
The study is funded by the Medical Research Council and is the joint initiative of the Department of Public Health and Primary Care: Cambridge: Prof John Danesh (Principal Investigator), Dr Kausik Ray (Scientific Lead), Dr Carmel Moore (Scientific Co-ordinator); and the Department of Haematology/NHSBT (www.haem.cam.ac.uk): Dr Willem Ouwehand (Principal Investigator), Dr Jennifer Sambrook (Scientific Lead).
Reliable assessment of gene-environment interactions in common disease requires particularly large-scale and expensive studies, e.g. the study of ½ million healthy adults in UK Biobank www.ukbiobank.ac.uk. Less costly studies may be possible by involving people who are already attending health services for separate purposes. The NHSBT, in partnership with University of Cambridge, has already demonstrated the feasibility of recruiting blood donors to ethically-approved studies to develop biomedical resources i.e. UK Blood Services Collection of Common Controls (funded by the Wellcome Trust) and Cambridge BioResource (funded by the Cambridge Biomedical Research Centre).
Cambridge CardioResource will recruit up to 2,500 male and female blood donors, aged >17 years. At routine donation sessions, protocols will be tested for collecting additional research samples and for conducting physical measurements, to provide an extensively phenotyped, healthy population group. Post donation, participants will be invited to complete questionnaires relating their health and lifestyle and their attitudes to donating blood and taking part in the research. Furthermore the feasibility of linking donor records with existing health databases (e.g. Myocardial Ischaemia National Audit Project registry) will be tested, providing the potential for detailed characterisation of incident cardiovascular disease endpoints.
Retaining existing donors and encouraging future donation rates remains a priority for NHSBT; thus rigorous piloting of research protocols is needed to ensure sufficiently streamlined methods can be developed that will minimally interfere with routine donation procedures and not adversely impact on donation rates. Cambridge CardioResource will determine the strengths and limitations of a number of different protocols for the implementation of the research. Data will be collected to assess the feasibility, acceptability and scalability of these protocols, particularly in relation to their impact on the routine blood donation process and the ‘donor experience.’
The results of this pilot study will inform if it is possible to integrate and conduct a landmark study within the NHSBT framework to provide an internationally outstanding biomedical resource.
Recruitment started in February 2010 and is expected to be completed in September 2010.
Further information for participants and a link to the Cambridge CardioResource web-based questionnaire can be found at: https://www.cardioresource.haem.cam.ac.uk