Russian biobank collects DNA samples to investigate Alzheimer's disease

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In March one of the largest Russian biobanks, founded in St. Petersburg State University, starts collecting DNA samples from Alzheimer’s and other diseases’ sufferers. Scientists will try to decode patients’ genomes peculiarities to find new ways of treatment, informs Andrey Sarana, the Chief Physician Deputy of hospital #40 that will organize DNA collection.

“The Russian Science Foundation’s grant in an amount of 750 million rubles (nearly $12 million) provides investigation of cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases (Parkinson's and Alzheimer's diseases) and psychological disorders. We starts collecting samples on 1 March,” said Sarana, explaining that only voluntary patients will take part in the investigation. According to him, scientists plan to get first results this year. St. Petersburg University had already bought the necessary equipment for the biobank, states Andrey Glotov, the biobank’s President. The university spent 100 million rubles ($1.6 million) to buy a cryoreservoir for sample storage and a sequenator for genome decoding.

“These months we are to reconstruct the building to meet all the biobank’s needs and at the same time collect samples and start investigation using the equipment bought,” specifies Glotov.

Scientists plan to collect 200 000 samples. Hospital #40 (one of the biggest in-patient hospitals in St. Petersburg) is the main biobank’s partner. Samples will be also received from other health institutions (rheumatological centre, psychoneurologic dispensaries and oncological clinics). Soon St. Petersburg State University’s Ethics Committee will approve the sample informed consent that voluntary patients should sign to take part in the investigation.

Text and pictures by TASS