The Nicklaus Children’s Hospital Biobank has reached a significant milestone in enrolling its 500th participant.
Founded in 2019 to address imbalances in genomic research, the biobank’s goal is to enhance individualized care for children in South Florida and to harness the latest developments in genomic science to speed effective treatments for pediatric conditions, while optimizing benefits and minimizing side effects.
Doctors diagnose genetic disorders in patients by comparing their DNA to “reference genomes,” based on the pooling of genomes that have already been sequenced. Currently, most participants in genomic research are of European descent, with Black, Hispanic, and Latino populations vastly underrepresented. In a multi-ethnic community like South Florida, this presents a challenge in applying genomics to patient care, explained Dr. Espinal, who is also the manager of the Personalized Medicine Research Program.
The biobank was founded to help address this gap through a $7 million donation from Sanford Health. The biobank will continue to collect samples from diverse participants representing South Florida and, more broadly, the growing diversity of the US.
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