The most comprehensive health study in the UK is opening its doors to researchers in the hope of producing new treatments for life-threatening diseases.
The UK Biobank began recruiting participants aged 40 to 69 three years ago, and now has securely stored data on 500,000 people.
Each participant answered questions on health, lifestyle, diet, memory, work history and family history. Scientists took a range of measurements from the participants, including blood pressure, pulse rate, height and weight and lung function.
In total, the UK Biobank has data on 26,000 people with diabetes, 50,000 with joint disorders, 41,000 teetotallers and 11,000 heart attack patients.
The project has also been overseeing a diet questionnaire, filled in by 400,000 people.
The aim of the UK Biobank is to improve the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of a wide range of conditions like cancer, diabetes and heart disease. The anonymised data will be open from researchers from the UK and abroad.
The Biobank is funded by the Wellcome Trust, Medical Research Council, Department of Health, Scottish Government, Welsh Government and the British Heart Foundation.
Professor Dame Sally Davies, chief medical officer and chief scientific adviser at the Department of Health, said: "UK Biobank is a globally unique resource which places the UK at the forefront of the quest to understand why some people develop life-threatening diseases or debilitating conditions.
"It has huge potential for future generations and will help us understand how our children and our children's children can live longer, healthier lives."
© ActiveQuote Ltd. 2012