Samples of biological material – including blood, tissue removed during surgery on patients and urine – are being stored in a unique research “Bio-Bank” to benefit residents of the Negev in the south of Israel.
The collection, which will promote the advancement of personalized medicine, places a major emphasis on population-based research. This will enable researchers at Ben-Gurion University of the Negev and Soroka University Medical Center in Beersheba, to explore aspects of health and illness among people and groups – Jews, Beduin and others – living in the Negev.
Soroka has thus officially joined the Israel Biological Database for Biomedical Research at the BioBank Center for Personalized Medicine at the Weizmann Institute of Science in Rehovot. The Weizmann center aims to ensure that researchers from hospitals, academia and industry around the country have access to information and raw materials from humans to develop new treatments, drugs and technologies for the benefit of the public and to enrich scientific knowledge.
The study of populations of Negev patients will make it possible to identify biological indicators for the possibility of disease and thereby take action to prevent them in the future.
Prof. Victor Novack, head of research at Soroka, explained: “Our joining the National Institute for Biological Samples constitutes recognition by the State of Israel and the Health Ministry of the importance of collecting and preserving tissue specifically of Negev populations for future medical research in various fields.”
The Negev Bio-Bank is a unique reservoir of samples, combining not only biological samples but also genetic and clinical information and environmental data. Run by Noa Hazut, the bio-bank functions in several fields, including brain malignancies, head and neck tumors and gynecology. Samples of gynecological cancers, hematological tissues and a skin tumor will be added in the near future.
The database samples are collected only after the patient agrees to donate them and after they have been made clear they are not needed for treatment and diagnosis. The clinical information required for the study was provided without identifying details of the donor.