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November 3, 2016

The Sangre Por Salud Biobank: Bringing Precision Medicine Research to an Underrepresented Latino Community

By Sharon Rosen

mss_0000960033The Sangre Por Salud (Spanish for Blood for Health) Biobank was created to expand precision medicine research to underrepresented Latino patients in order to enhance the diversity of the Mayo Clinic Biobank. The biobank enables researchers to examine biological samples and data collected from Latino patients in order to develop better prevention, diagnostic tools and treatments for health issues specific to this group.

“Latinos are disproportionately impacted by several chronic health conditions, including obesity and type 2 diabetes, so developing a better understanding of these health disparities can lead to more effective treatment and prevention programs for everyone,” says Gabriel Shaibi, Ph.D., associate professor, Southlands Border Scholar, and director, Center for Health Promotion and Disease Prevention at Arizona State University.

Created in 2013, the Sangre Por Salud Biobank is a collaboration between Mayo Clinic Center for Individualized Medicine, Mountain Park Health Center in Phoenix, and Arizona State University. Mountain Park Health Center, a designated Federally Qualified Health Center (FQHC), provides comprehensive health care services to underserved populations, including minority, immigrant and homeless patients.

This collaborative effort serves as a model for how precision medicine research can be extended to a broader community.

Dr. Eleanna De Filippis

Dr. Eleanna De Filippis

“The Sangre Por Salud Biobank is the perfect example of how different institutions can integrate their missions and visions to benefit both patient care and advance our knowledge of health and disease,” says Eleanna De Filippis, M.D., Ph.D., assistant professor of Medicine at Mayo Clinic’s Arizona campus and principal investigator for Sangre Por Salud. “Unlike many traditional research efforts, the research projects conceived within the Sangre Por Salud Biobank are designed to directly empower the physicians at Mountain Park Health Center with the scientific knowledge acquired during our collaborations, and ultimately enable them to improve care for their patients.”

Davinder Singh, M.D., medical director for Mountain Park Health Center, sees this collaboration as an important step towards improving health care for minority populations.

"Sangre Por Salud enables us to bring precision medicine research efforts directly to the underserved populations who seek care at Mountain Park Health Care Center - a group of patients whose unique health issues are often underrepresented in medical research,” says Dr. Singh. “This effort may help us find better diagnostic tools and treatments based on these patients’ biological and genetic characteristics."

Dr. Shaibi is the lead author of a recently published paper in Public Health Genomics that outlines the framework used to create the biobank.

Dr. Gabriel Shaibi

Dr. Gabriel Shaibi

As Dr. Shaibi explains, “The findings present the initial framework for extending Mayo Clinic Biobank resources and infrastructure to a FQHC serving low-income and minority patients. We anticipate that this framework will be applied to support similar collaborative biobanks between academic medical centers and community clinics. Indeed, the new National Institutes of Health Precision Medicine Initiative (PMI) identifies FQHCs as critical links for bringing underserved individuals, families and communities into the PMI Cohort, especially those historically underrepresented in biomedical research.”

While the biobank supports all types of research studies, initial research efforts focus on conditions such as obesity and diabetes, all areas of special concern for the Latino population served by Mountain Park. In addition, samples have been used to better understand the genetic origins of Alzheimer’s disease in Latinos as well as to support projects that apply genomic medicine to improved patient care.

How will biobanks like Sangre Por Salud further impact patient care? Dr. Shaibi highlights these key findings:

  • For precision medicine to work for all patients, research must address not only genomic differences between patients but also include how ethnicity, race, socioeconomic status and health literacy impact health and disease.
  • Integrating biobanks into diverse practice settings will further improve patient care, because they address diseases that are more common in certain ethnic groups.
  • Patients and providers should anticipate that precision medicine initiatives, such as biobanking, may soon be integrated into many healthcare settings during routine visits.

To date, more than 2,500 Latino adult patients from the Mountain Park Health Center have volunteered to participate in the biobank.

Each Sangre Por Salud Biobank participant contributed personal and family medical histories, demographic, psychosocial and behavioral information, as well as blood samples.

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Tags: #Arizona State University, #Dr. Davinder Singh, #Dr. Elena De Filippis, #Dr. Gabriel Shaibi, #Latino patients, #minority health issues, #Mountain Park Health Center, #Public health issues, #Sangre Por Salud Biobank, Biobank, Biospecimens, center for individualized medicine, mayo clinic, Precision Medicine, Uncategorized

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