A Unique Approach
Targeted volunteer recruitment
The unique benefit of NIHR BioResource is that researchers are able to select volunteers for studies based on their genetic make-up or on physical characteristics, such as markers in their blood cells.
Using typical methods of volunteer recruitment, such as poster adverts or recruitment through clinics, researchers are only able to target volunteers based on criteria such as age, gender and ethnicity. Using these methods, researchers often need to recruit very large numbers of volunteers who fit their basic criteria in order to find sufficient volunteers with a particular genetic make-up of interest.
For example, a researcher looking to recruit volunteers with a common genetic variation that occurs in approximately 1 in 10 people would have to recruit approximately 500 volunteers in order to find 50 volunteers with the genetic variation of interest.
Using the NIHR BioResource, DNA samples are screened, following a request from a researcher, in advance of volunteer selection for the particular gene (or genes) of interest. Only those volunteers who are found to have the genetic variation of interest are selected for invitation. This means that valuable functional research into the causes of many diseases that previously would have proven too costly or time-consuming, is now possible.