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Individualized medicine has been a theme for a very long time here at Mayo Medical Laboratories, so when the opportunity came about to really participate with the Precision Medicine Initiative we were ready. This was just a natural extension of what we had already been doing. As part of the Precision Medicine Initiative we’re honored to host the bio repository for that one-million-patient program. The biobank is like a commercial bank. It’s a place where you take something and deposit it and keep it for future use.

We’re collecting a sample of blood and urine. That blood and urine has to go someplace. As the deliveries come in through the morning we’ll see about 35,000 tests come across this dock. Out in the field the courier network of about 300 drivers per day are making pick-ups from primary clients, about 750 shipments total and we’ll get 35,000 specimens in through that, per day. When the samples come to us they are really gonna come to us with a biobank ID. We will not know exactly who those people are and it’s gonna be really highly secured by the data center for the program. Rather than having to sort our specimens manually, we have this automation system that can sort them into different locations. So the purpose of this is to be able to designate which location it’s supposed to go to, then we can rack them, pull them off, and then deliver them to the appropriate lab.

This is our fully automated robotic freezer that stores all of our biobanking samples at minus 80 degrees Celsius. We’re gonna be collecting 35 aliquots for every person. That one million cohort will turn into 35 million samples. There’s nothing more important to Mayo Clinic than the patients that we serve, and I think that engenders trust. You know, you have an open, two-way communication. It’s not like you give your sample and you never hear from the organization again. We tend to know a lot more about the patients that come than in a lot of places where medical care is fragmented. It’s not really foreign to us. Researchers need to know who we are and what we’re made of, and what makes us tick. Researchers all over the country, all over the world, really, they’re gonna be able to access this database to look for exactly what they want. The magnitude that we’re talking about, we haven’t had this before. The title for the project itself, All Of Us, is really embodied in this project because it is all of us. This is a sample size that really does represent all of us as humans, period.

A million people will have a profound impact on our understanding of the care and health of the patient going forward, so if we could reduce the burden of cancer, we could reduce the instance of inherited disease, we could have safer medications, all of which I think are good things. The success of how we measure this program is the use of material. It helps Mayo to do what it’s been trying to do for many years, and then really to continue that in the future. This program is as important to Mayo as it is the reverse. .

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