Elderly couple hugging

The ASPREE Healthy Ageing Biobank Cluster will advance research into diagnosis of age-related diseases.

Biobank to aid disease prediction and diagnosis

A 'biobank' of blood samples from healthy elderly Australians will aid research in the prediction and early diagnosis of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and cancer.

  • 1 April 2011 | Updated 22 June 2012

Chronic diseases take an enormous and growing toll on the health and wellbeing of people and health care systems in Australia and worldwide.

With the ageing of populations and increasing rates of chronic disease, advancing research into preventing or delaying the onset of chronic diseases has never been more important.

The ASPREE (ASPirin in Reducing Events in the Elderly) Healthy Ageing Biobank Cluster will build a biobank of blood samples in an effort to predict the development of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and cancer in ageing Australians.

Partners

Launched with contributions from The Flagship Collaboration Fund, the ASPREE Healthy Ageing Biobank Cluster involves CSIRO’s Preventative Health National Research Flagship, in collaboration with:

  • Monash University
  • The University of Melbourne
  • The Australian National University
  • University of Tasmania through the Menzies Research Institute.

The cluster

The cluster is working to establish a biobank of blood samples collected from over 10 000 healthy elderly Australians in an effort to identify disease biomarkers.

The collaboration will complement the ASPREE clinical trial – a separate clinical study examining whether routine use of low-dose aspirin will delay the emergence of a range of chronic disorders including cancers, vascular disease, and dementia in a cohort of 12 500 Australian and 6500 US healthy volunteers aged 70 and over.

The Healthy Aging Biobank adds value to the ASPREE clinical trial by collecting, processing and storing blood samples collected at baseline in the study from 10 000 of the clinical trail participants. 

CSIRO has particular interest in using the Biobank to aid its research into improving the methods for diagnosis of colorectal cancer, Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, and obesity-related disorders.

This resource, when coupled with the matched clinical and lifestyle data being collected under the clinical trial, will enable researchers to conduct a broad range of basic and translational biomedical research including disease biomarker discovery and validation.

Through the ASPREE Healthy Aging Biobank Cluster, CSIRO has facilitated the development of the infrastructure, systems and volunteer recruitment processes necessary to allow the collection of base line blood samples from 10 000 of the participants. 

As part of the cluster, blood samples are currently being collected, processed and stored using rigorous standard operating procedures (SOPs) and state-of-the-art sample management systems.

Outcomes

The Healthy Ageing Biobank will provide an internationally significant and invaluable resource for a broad range of future biomedical research including discovery and validation of disease biomarkers.

This will be made possible through analysis of the matched clinical and lifestyle data of individuals gathered through the ASPREE Clinical Trial.

Once fully established, academic and corporate researchers will be able to compare blood samples from the biobank from subjects with and without a particular disease of interest, allowing them to discover and validate diagnostic tests for age-related disease and disability, and identify diet, lifestyle and pharmaceutical factors that may contribute to healthy ageing.

CSIRO has particular interest in using the Biobank to aid its research into improving the methods for diagnosis of colorectal cancer, Alzheimer’s and other neurodegenerative diseases, and obesity-related disorders.

Identifying biomarkers for chronic diseases will greatly advance research into healthy ageing and disease prevention, and play an important role in reducing Australia's chronic disease burden.

Read more about the Preventative Health Flagship.