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Biohealth Norway

The biobank platform Biohealth Norway is a research collaboration established due to a substantial grant from the Norwegian Functional Genomics Research Program, FUGE. The platform is hosted by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health in collaboration with the universities of Oslo, Bergen, Trondheim and Tromsø.

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Biohealth Norway is a large population based cohort established for genetic epidemiologic research. The collection of samples and information is still ongoing. When completed, the cohort will comprise biological samples and standardised health and exposure data from 500 000 Norwegian individuals of all ages, corresponding to approximately 1/10 of the Norwegian population.

The main research purpose is to improve prevention and treatment of disease by increased knowledge of the molecular nature of disease, based on discoveries of new genes associated to complex diseases and new information on the interaction between genes and environmental factors.

The Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH), Division of Epidemiology, is responsible for the technology platform. The network is organised in collaboration with the regional health studies at the four Norwegian universities of Tromsø, Trondheim, Bergen and Oslo. The platform is hosted by NIPH. All partners are represented in the Executive Committee.

The Norwegian health registries may provide valuable data by linking to the data obtained in the cohort studies. By utilising high-throughput genotyping, microarray analyses of RNA and proteins as well as measures of environmental exposure in biological samples, many very specific research questions can be resolved. Biohealth intend to provide technology support for other biobanks and will interact with other platforms such as the platforms on bioinformatics, SNP genotyping and microarrays.

Aims

The overall purpose of this technology platform is to improve prevention and treatment of disease, based on discoveries of new genes associated to the complex diseases and new information on the interaction between genes and environmental factors.

These aims will be reached by:

  • Establishing a large population cohort for studies of genes, environment and health
  • Identifying genetic and environmental causes of disease
  • Investigating the separate and combined effects of genes and environment on the risk of common diseases

Research projects

The platform intends to stimulate and participate in research projects in accordance with the aims above, by supporting the projects with sets of data and/or samples from the population cohorts.  We encourage researchers to take contact with the steering group members for discussions about projects relevant for an application to the Research Council of Norway.   

Ethics and approvals

All information from the health studies is treated according to the guidelines of the Data Inspectorate of Norway. All personnel engaged in the studies are obliged to confidentiality.

Participating subjects have signed a consent form giving consent to subsequent control and follow-up, the use of data and blood samples for research purposes, and possible linkage to other registers. Each study has been approved by the Regional Committees for Medical Research Ethics. When data are used for research purposes, names and personal ID numbers are removed. All new research projects must seek new approval from the Regional Committees for Medical Research Ethics and the Data Inspectorate.

Population cohorts

The population cohorts included in BIOHEALTH build on existing and ongoing studies. The cohorts includes biological samples as well as standardised health and exposure data.

The Norwegian Mother and Child Cohort Study: The Norwegian mother and child study is a cohort of 100 000 pregnant women, 100 000 children and 70 000 fathers.

About CONOR - data from several regional health studies: Cohort of Norwayis a cohort of approximately 260 000 adults, comprising eight different cohorts from various districts of Norway.

 

Name of survey

Institution

Year of survey

Total no. of subjects

DNA Extracted

Web address

Tromsø IV

UiT

1994-1995

26 000

26 000

http://uit.no/tromsoundersokelsen

HUNT II

NTNU

1995-1997

64 000

64 000

http://www.hunt.ntnu.no/

HUSK

UiB

1997-1999

26 000

0

 

Oslo II

UiO/ NIPH

2000

7 000

0

 

HUBRO

UiO/ NIPH

2000-2001

22 000

0

 

OPPHED

NIPH

2000-2001

12 000

0

 

Tromsø V

UiT

2001

8 000

0

http://uit.no/tromsoundersokelsen

I-HUBRO

UiO/ NIPH

2002

4 000

0

 

TROFINN

NIPH

2002

9 000

0

 

MoRo II

NIPH

2003

2 000

0

 

HUNT 3

NTNU

2006-2008

Ongoing

0

http://www.hunt.ntnu.no/

Tromsø 6

UiT

2007-2009

Ongoing

0

http://uit.no/tromsoundersokelsen

Total CONOR

1994-pt

180 000

90 000

 

MoBa

NIPH

1999- pt

210 000

140 000

 

Homo-cystein

UiB

1992

18 000

0

 

Total BioHealth

1994-pt

408 000

     230 000

Health registries

Health registries will be linked to the cohorts to find end-points. The Norwegian Institute of Public Health is responsible for five national registries of which the Medical birth registryand the Cause of death registry are the most important for BIOHEALTH. The Medical Birth Registry is of special relevance for the MOBA study.  The Cancer Registry of Norway will provide opportunities for a series of research projects into the causes mechanisms of many cancer forms.

Clinical and pathological-anatomical biobanks

Norwegian pathology laboratories and the JANUS biobank

Genealogy database

All residents of Norway are recorded in the Central Person Registry (CPR) with the personal identification number of both parents, except for most of those born before 1953 and for people born abroad of parents not registered in the CPR (immigrants). Extension of the genealogical data to complete information on parents of individuals born prior to 1953 requires computerisation of available data. This database is not yet established and will need authorisation from the Data Inspectorate.

The Cancer Registry of Norway

The human Cancer Registry has received reports on all cases of cancer and pre-cancerous lesions in the Norwegian population since 1951. There are three sources of information: Hospitals and policlinics, Statistics Norway (death certificates) and the pathological laboratories.  The latter also reports the specimen numbers based on which the reported diagnosis has been set. Up to 1993 the Registry used a modified version of ICD-7 and so-called MOTNAC for the coding of topography, staging, morphology and differentiation of cancer, but since 1993 the Registry has used ICD-O, version 2, for this coding and classification. Name, the unique person identity number and residential municipality identify cancer patients reported to the Registry. The disease characteristics that are coded include topography, morphology, time of diagnosis (month and year), spread of the disease (stage), basis of the diagnosis, diagnostic certainty and type of treatment. New primaries are treated likewise. Time of death and causes of death are registered, too. The Cancer Registry is a population-based registry of high quality with regard to completeness and validity – almost 95% of the diagnoses are histologically verified.

The Norwegian pathology laboratories

In the Norwegian pathology laboratories, all tissue samples and the corresponding original record papers have been filed for up to 65 years. The filing system is based on one-to-one archive numbers securing that the right tissue of the patient can be found. By means of archive codes, which are registered in the Cancer Registry (since 1953), it is an easy task to find the biopsy material. The tissue is kept in specially made rack systems in easily accessible rooms under stable conditions concerning temperature and humidity.

The Janus biobank

The JANUS bank contains serum samples – the oldest date back to 1973 – from more than 300,000 healthy Norwegian citizens. Their sera can be found easily by means of the archive system developed by JANUS in co-operation with the Cancer Registry. JANUS is devoted to cancer research mainly.

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