Cambridge Stem Cell Institute (CSCI) January '23 newsletter

The NIHR BioResource, hosted by the Dept. of Haematology and Dept. Public Health and Primary Care here at the University, is a unique resource for studying disease mechanisms and for investigating the links between genes, the environment, health and disease; enabling scientific discoveries as well as facilitating translational medicine for the benefit of patients.

The BioResource has a long history of supporting CSCI PIs with research, including Prof. David Rowitch, Prof. Andrew McCaskie and very recently with Prof. Cedric Ghevaert on the trial involving transfusion of lab-grown red blood cells into BioResource volunteers.

Commenting on the RESTORE trial, Prof. Ghevaert said:

"In order to carry out the study we needed to match red cell and stem cell donors with healthy recipients. The red cell matching had to go further than simply ABO and RhD blood groups. In fact, it included an additional 12 antigens to match for. This meant we had to identify a population of highly phenotyped volunteers to match to our donor cohort.

“The BioResource provided the necessary infrastructure to enable this, not only with the phenotypic information of potential participants but because of the access it gave the RESTORE team to contact these volunteers and enable recruitment."
Red blood cell
A laboratory-grown red blood cell, which carriers oxygen and carbon dioxide around the body (NHSBT)

The BioResource is composed of more than 210,000 highly characterised patients with a common or rare disease, or healthy volunteers. Researchers can apply to access data and/or samples or to recall participants to take part in their research. Participant recall studies can be run from the BioResource Clinical Research Unit (S2) at Addenbrooke’s hospital on the Cambridge Biomedical Campus. 

Long-term partner of the NIHR BioResource and PHPC group leader Dr Dirk Paul said:

"The BioResource has been excellent in providing a general framework of recall by genotype study: full end to end partnership from providing support to help refine the research protocol to study design, advice on what can and can’t be done, and then the recall itself.

"Without the BioResource, there is no capacity to do this type of research at all. We would have to do work in mice or in cells or other model systems, thereby trying to mimic the biological condition in humans. Understanding how the information actually translates into humans is what the BioResource makes possible.

"Overall, the BioResource is a fantastic example of a resource that enables translational research and I’d encourage others to enquire about research support."

You can find out more about working with the NIHR BioResource and specifically the services available in Cambridge via the Cambridge BioResource webpage.

View a list of studies and publications supported by BioResource infrastructure and volunteers, and recent news.

To enquire about making an application or to find out more about available support, please email

You can keep up to date with the NIHR BioResource on Twitter and LinkedIn.