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Media Release: Minister for Health unveils state-of-the-art centre for large-scale research and sample storage

The Minister for Health, the Hon. Sussan Ley MP, has officially opened the Children’s Bioresource Centre (CBC) at the Murdoch Children's Research Institute. The Children’s Bioresource Centre is a world-class facility that will support large scale community and population health research focussed on the causes and cures of common childhood illnesses.

The opening follows a $4.7million contribution from the Federal Government to purchase essential equipment, which will allow scientists to conduct vital research to support the future health and wellbeing of children and adolescents.

The Minister toured the CBC laboratory at Murdoch Children's, which houses the latest high-throughput robotics and biobanking technologies. This equipment means researchers can handle a large number of biospecimens quickly, efficiently and accurately – enabling the conduct of research across large population groups.

The data will make it easier for the medical research community to inform Government about the best timing and targeting of interventions for preventing disease, enhancing treatments, and promoting wellbeing.

Murdoch Children's Director Professor Kathryn North says the contribution from the Federal Government is vitally important as biospecimen storage and analysis becomes crucial to understanding complex common problems such as obesity, allergies and mental health issues.

“Our work at the Institute have given us access to approximately 40,000 patients, which amounts to over one million unique data points available for analysis; an unrivalled amount of data for research. With the addition of our bioresource and biobanking facility, we now have the capability for more accurate and efficient sample storage, handling and processing of valuable patient data,” says Professor North.

One large study conducted by the Institute is the HealthNuts study of 5,300 children. HealthNuts is the world's first comprehensive population-based study of food allergy and study findings have been widely quoted in government advocacy and guidelines. The CBC will allow samples from children involved in studies like HealthNuts to be stored and used for further research.

“The knowledge that can be gained from these samples is very exciting for us,” says Professor North. “The CBC will be the epicentre for several studies investigating the effects of genetic, environmental and lifestyle factors on child morbidity, mortality and health, heralding a new era of research.”