The recent revolution in the genetic dissection of the common diseases has catalysed the study of physiology in human subjects. In order to identify phenotypes, some of which might be precursors of disease that might be targetable in future clinical trials, we are correlating disease-associated genotypes with immune phenotypes in human blood samples in the ongoing investigation of mechanisms in the autoimmune disease type 1 diabetes (Diabetes and Inflammation Laboratory).
To achieve this we need two major clinical resources, healthy volunteers and families with diabetes. Therefore we have created the NIHR Biomedical Research Centre Cambridge BioResource (cambridgebioresource.org.uk), a panel of 9,000 local research volunteers who have agreed to be approached for medical research projects and who can be recalled based on specific genotypes. This project provides direct access to study human physiology in health and diseases. Hundreds of volunteers have already participated in several projects. The Cambridge BioResource also provides a major opportunity for outreach and education of the general public in medical research. In type 1 diabetes we have also initiated a major collection of unaffected siblings in families with type 1 diabetes in order to help detect and characterise the earliest, inherited events in the disease (Diabetes ' Genes, Autoimmunity and Prevention).