New Horizons: the value of UK Biobank to research on endocrine and metabolic disorders.
Bešević J., Lacey B., Conroy M., Omiyale W., Feng Q., Collins R., Allen N.
UK Biobank is an intensively characterized prospective study of 500 000 men and women, aged 40 to 69 years when recruited, between 2006 and 2010, from the general population of the United Kingdom. Established as an open-access resource for researchers worldwide to perform health research that is in the public interest, UK Biobank has collected (and continues to collect) a vast amount of data on genetic, physiological, lifestyle, and environmental factors, with prolonged follow-up of heath conditions through linkage to administrative electronic health records. The study has already demonstrated its unique value in enabling research into the determinants of common endocrine and metabolic diseases. The importance of UK Biobank, heralded as a flagship project for UK health research, will only increase over time as the number of incident disease events accrue, and the study is enhanced with additional data from blood assays (such as whole-genome sequencing, metabolomics, and proteomics), wearable technologies (including physical activity and cardiac monitors), and body imaging (magnetic resonance imaging and dual-energy X-ray absorptiometry). This unique research resource is likely to transform our understanding of the causes, diagnosis, and treatment of many endocrine and metabolic disorders.