Frequently Asked Questions

How many patients have samples placed in the Biobank so far?

As of November 2013, the total number of patients who have donated blood samples to the biobank exceeds 10,000.


What patients are being recruited?

Patients from Brigham and Women’s Hospital, Massachusetts General Hospital, and Spaulding Rehabilitation Hospital are currently being recruited to participate in the Partners Biobank via an appointment at an outpatient clinic, at an inpatient stay, or at volunteer days. We are not targeting patients based on any specific phenotype.


Are there any patients who would meet the specific needs of my research?

Based on analyses we’ve performed to date, the patients who have consented to participate in the Biobank represent a broad cross-section of the patient population who are served by Partners hospitals. As a result, there are significant patient subsets with histories of common chronic diseases, including heart disease, diabetes, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, etc. You can expect that the availability of samples that meet your specific requirements will be similar to the broader patient population as a whole.


How quickly is the Biobank growing?

As of November 2013, we are recruiting about 500-600 patients per month.




What kind of samples are you banking?

the Biobank. Our goal is to have materials processed and aliquoted within four hours of phlebotomy. Please contact us for further information about sample quality and use for specific applications. While we currently do not collect additional sample types, such as PAXgene tubes for RNA, we can arrange for collection of additional tubes of blood in cases where we know up-front specific materials should be prepared.




Are there any significant advantages to collaborating with the Biobank?

In a word, Yes! Partners has made significant investments in the technical and IT infrastructure, which support the Biobank and the use of much of this infrastructure is offered to collaborators, including the use a state-of-the-art recruitment and consent tracking application. The nature of each collaboration is different, but we strive to create the most value within the bounds of our strategic imperatives and funding.




How much do samples cost?

Please contact us at for a fee schedule. The cost covers patient recruitment, consent, phlebotomy, sample processing, storage, and distribution. It is far lower than the cost observed when individual investigators perform the same work without leveraging the economies of scale that result from this enterprise-wide effort. The cost of samples is in line with other large bio-banking operations, such as the Nurse’s Health Study. Partners HealthCare is currently subsidizing the rest of the associated costs.




How do I get started?

We suggest that you fill out the sample request form to get started or contact us. One of our Laboratory Directors or Operations Managers is available to discuss your specific needs.




Will I be able to obtain samples from the Partners Biobank?

The Partners Biobank will initially be open to all accredited Partners-affiliated investigators. Harvard-affiliated investigators wishing to access the services of the Biobank will need to collaborate with a Partners-affiliated investigator to gain access.