By collecting and analyzing blood samples from Geisinger’s large patient population, MyCodeTM will help unlock the mysteries of some of the most devastating and debilitating diseases.
Blood samples are obtained from patients of certain Geisinger specialty clinics to study specific conditions, such as obesity and cardiovascular disease, and also from patients of Geisinger primary care clinics to provide a representative sample of the regional population. More than 60,000 samples from over 23,000 Geisinger patients have been collected so far, and sample collection is ongoing.
MyCode researchers use the blood samples to study the genetic causes of diseases and certain disease-related molecular mediators. Knowledge gained from these studies will allow researchers to pursue innovative approaches to disease prevention, diagnosis and treatment. To be of value for Genomic Medicine research, bio-banked samples must be connected to clinical data: MyCode allows genetic and molecular data about the samples to be connected to medical data in a way that protects patient identity.
The principal investigator for MyCode is David Carey, PhD. The project was made possible by funding from the Ben Franklin Technology Development Authority and Geisinger Clinic’s Administrative Committee for Research.
The MyCode Process
When a patient agrees to participate in MyCode, blood samples for the MyCode Project are collected during blood draws ordered as part of the patient’s routine medical care. Download the MyCode brochure (.pdf) for more information.
Participation in the MyCode project is free of charge both to individuals and their insurers. In order to be eligible to donate blood, volunteers must be:
- Under either the primary care or secondary care of a Geisinger physician
- At least 18 years of age.
Patients who do not understand the project or have been diagnosed with or exhibit signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease are not eligible to participate.
The volume of the blood sample obtained for MyCode is commonly no more than two tablespoons, in addition to the amount of blood drawn for clinical or diagnostic purposes.
After the sample is drawn and labeled, a staff member from the Weis Center for Research transports the blood to the Geisinger Clinic Genomics Core (GCGC) where it is processed for storage. At this stage, all personal identification markers are removed and the samples are assigned a randomly-selected identification number. A secure key is maintained that allows approved researchers to connect the samples to the clinical data for genomic studies in a way that ensures confidentiality of the information.
To maintain confidentiality of MyCode data the code linking the research numbers and the electronic health records are kept in a password-protected files accessible only to MyCode team members. Additionally, all results generated from the samples are reported as a group so that individuals are not identified. The samples are stored indefinitely.
For more information on the MyCode Project or for instructions on how to join the study, call 1-866-910-6486.