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What Makes This Research Bank Different?

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The KP Research Bank is an initiative supported by scientists, ethics leaders and community members. KP Research Bank makes large-scale genetic, molecular, environmental and health information available to scientists conducting cutting edge research.

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Understanding the role genes play in various diseases is complex. Researchers need genetic information from a large and diverse group of people to spot patterns. By linking the genetic information the KP Research Bank is gathering to current diagnoses and treatments, KP researchers may be able to improve health.

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What kind of research will NOT be done? The research does NOT involve cloning, stem cell research, gene therapy, or genetic engineering.

Why Contribute to the KP Research Bank?

Each person’s DNA may make a difference.

Each person’s DNA may make a difference.

Each person’s DNA is unique and each blood sample contains billions of pieces of genetic information. Looking at information from a diverse group of people might be a way for researchers to discover new information about disease.

Because it is secure.

Because it is secure.

Strict controls protect the privacy of all participants. Names and other personal information are replaced with a study number. Insurance companies, employers, even family cannot obtain your information. Only researchers who conduct approved studies have access to the KP Research Bank data.

We operate with the highest ethical standards. An Institutional Review Board (IRB), a governing body of physicians, scientists, and community representatives, reviews and approves every study before it begins, including this one. The goal of the IRB is to minimize any risk to participants by making sure that the KP Research Bank, as well as collaborating organizations and research scientists, follow federal regulations and guidelines for conducting research.

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One Example: Treating High Blood Pressure

Researchers don’t understand what causes high blood pressure in most people. Or why some drugs are good at controlling it in some people, but not as effective in others. KP researchers are exploring whether a person’s DNA may influence how they respond to certain drugs.

Researchers use data to identify people with high blood pressure who do and do not respond well to thiazide diuretics, a drug for high blood pressure. Why the difference in response? Can a tiny difference in people’s DNA help determine a reason? Does DNA play a role in the body’s ability to use or reject this medication?

If researchers are able to better understand these issues, high blood pressure treatments may improve. Today, it’s difficult and expensive to learn how patients respond to certain drugs. But what if doctors could test patients for that tiny difference in their DNA? Doctors could then prescribe the drug that is likely to work best for that particular patient.

By applying what researchers are learning about DNA from thousands of participants, researchers are able to better understand exactly how the human body works. So the treatment of high blood pressure can be more effective for all who live with the disease.

What other kinds of research are possible? Here are other questions we are working to answer:

  • Why do some health problems such as diabetes or cancer seem to run in families? Are they inherited? Or is it the environment that family members share?
  • Why don’t all people with high blood cholesterol and blood pressure get heart disease?
  • What other factors might make people more or less likely to get heart disease?

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