Expanding a Biorepository at Kaiser Permanente

Expediting the study of the genetic and environmental determinants of health

    • September 17, 2012

Dates of Project: December 2008 to November 2011

Field of Work: Expediting research on the genetic and environmental determinants of health.

Problem Synopsis: Research on prevention and treatment of human disease will increasingly depend on scientists' access to population-based biorepositories, which collect tissue or fluid samples (and/or their genomic data), as well as associated health, demographic, lifestyle, and environmental data on a large number of individuals.

Synopsis of the Work: RPGEH (the Research Program on Genes, Environment and Health), based at Kaiser Permanente Northern California Division of Research in Oakland, Calif., is a biorepository established to support studies of genetic and environmental factors that influence many diseases. The resource, when completed, will link electronic medical records to genetic, lifestyle, and environmental exposure data from half a million members of the Kaiser Permanente® health plans.

Under this grant, the RPGEH team created or furthered key elements of the resource, including a biorepository of DNA samples, a database with health and environmental information, and policies and procedures for use of the data by researchers.

Key Results

RPGEH enrolled 201,444 adult members of the Kaiser health plan, of which 176,226 provided a saliva or blood sample into the biorepository. The program also enrolled 3,561 pregnant women, initiating a sample needed for studies of the prenatal period and its role in the health of the mother and the child.

The team created a database consolidating participants' genetic profiles, health and lifestyle data from surveys, clinical data from electronic medical records, and data on environmental exposures. The team also implemented procedures for sharing the data with research scientists.

Nine funded research projects used the resource as of mid-2012.