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Patient samples to conduct your research

Discover the range of research-ready patient samples that are available in the UK to companies conducting commercially-sponsored research.

How can you support me to access patient samples?

We fund multiple initiatives to enable the life sciences industry to access patient samples. We can help you to understand what support is available, what service is best suited to your research, and how to access it.

Our support will be most beneficial if you contact us at an early stage in your research journey.

NIHR BioResource

The NIHR BioResource is a panel of over 200,000 highly characterised healthy volunteers and patients with common and rare diseases who have signed up to participate in health research. This resource supports access to genetic, phenotypic and metabolomic data. It was developed to accelerate discovery in disease research through a streamlined process.

There are currently 18 local BioResource Centres across England. Each BioResource Centre is connected to the corresponding local NIHR Biomedical Research Centre (BRC).

By enabling access to well characterised groups of individuals by genotype and/or phenotype, the NIHR BioResource can help you identify and recruit individuals who are suitable for your clinical trial. Companies can also receive advice, support and feedback from key opinion leaders, clinicians and academics working in your field of research.

Industry partners can apply to the NIHR BioResource through:

  • Collaborations with a Principal Investigator at one of our BRCs
  • Commercial agreements with the NIHR BioResource, which would include an initial set-up study fee, costs associated with volunteer enrolment, and sample collection/shipment.

A detailed cost for industry-led studies through commercial agreements can be found on the NIHR BioResource website.

MRC-NIHR National Phenome Centre

The MRC-NIHR National Phenome Centre offers a wide range of services from broad profiling untargeted assays through to targeted assays. It is accessible by both academics and the life sciences industry. These services are offered on a collaborative project basis or via a fee-for-service basis.

This initiative is funded by the Medical Research Council (MRC) and the NIHR, led by Imperial College London and King's College London.

Genomics England

The NIHR part funds Genomics England, which is partnered with the NHS to provide whole genome sequencing data for the development of personalised and predictive healthcare solutions through the use of genomics.

They aim to equip researchers to find the causes of diseases and develop new treatments.

The UK Clinical Research Collaboration (UKCRC) Tissue Directory

The NIHR is one of eight funders of the UKCRC Tissue Directory - a free online resource that catalogues the different types of human sample resources available across the UK, including biobank, cohort, biorepository, and clinical trial samples. It’s the only one of its kind that covers all regions, sample types and disease areas.

TheUKCRC Tissue Directory has catalogued over 180 sample resources covering 136 diseases, and counting. Researchers can search the directory by gender, age, and disease, to either find banked samples or resources that can acquire bespoke collections.

Related information

This is just one of the ways we help life science organisations to conduct research in the UK. Visit our NIHR support for industry page to discover our full range of support. You may also be interested  in: 

Contact us

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Further information