UK Biobank is a large-scale prospective study with deep phenotyping and genomic data. Its open-access policy allows researchers worldwide, from academia or industry, to perform health research in the public interest. Between 2006 and 2010, the study recruited 502,000 adults aged 40-69 years from the general population of the United Kingdom. At enrolment, participants provided information on a wide range of factors, physical measurements were taken, and biological samples (blood, urine and saliva) were collected for long-term storage. Participants have now been followed up for over a decade with more than 52,000 incident cancer cases recorded. The study continues to be enhanced with repeat assessments, web-based questionnaires, multi-modal imaging, and conversion of the stored biological samples to genomic and other '-omic' data. The study has already demonstrated its value in enabling research into the determinants of cancer, and future planned enhancements will make the resource even more valuable to cancer researchers. Over 26,000 researchers worldwide are currently using the data, performing a wide range of cancer research. UK Biobank is uniquely placed to transform our understanding of the causes of cancer development and progression, and drive improvements in cancer treatment and prevention over the coming decades.
Br J Cancer