With a focus on ethnic minorities, the SHE Biobank provides infrastructure for boosting research and education and improves response to pandemics
Science Health Education (SHE) Center at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, and Silverberry Genomix, a leading company in digital health based
in San Francisco, announce the launch of the SHE Biobank initiative. The SHE Center’s goal is to bring best practices, better health outcomes, and increased stability to developing countries including the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), a region
urgently in need of all three. Navid Madani, PhD, the director of the SHE Center and a senior scientist at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute has led educational workshops and training programs in the region which reinforced the understanding of the current
lack of health data infrastructure and solidified the need for such platforms in the region.
“The SHE Biobank is a large, long-term study that will investigate the impact of genetic predisposition and environmental exposure to the development of disease,” said Madani. “Biobanking is crucial to this research and helps researchers, healthcare providers
and governments to health policies and assign resources properly. In recent years, due to advancements in healthcare technologies, data availability and decreasing DNA sequencing costs, various biobanks have been created around the world. However,
the majority of such projects have been launched in developed countries, contributing to an increasing gap between developed and developing countries. This initiative aims to decrease that gap,” she said.
The SHE Biobank is unique in the educational support it offers researchers to conduct studies and the infrastructure it provides so the data can be put into action for public good. It also helps increase readiness of the healthcare community to prevent
or combat future disease outbreaks.
“The recent COVID-19 pandemic has shown the importance of availability of digital health platforms to provide access to data and enable research and collaboration at scale for a large size of population,” said Shayan Mashatian, Founder of Silverberry
Genomix. “By making the Silverberry platform available to this critical endeavor, we are facilitating a rapid launch of the project, connecting the researchers, healthcare institutions and other interested parties so more people can take advantage
of scientific advancement, preventing disease or empower emerging field of precision medicine.”
Researchers, universities, government agencies, companies, and foundations as well as individual participants, are invited to participate in the initiative.