Lecture in Sotira on the Cyprus Biobank and the DNA of Cypriots

What is the biobank for the Cypriot population and why does it record the DNA of Cypriots?

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The biobank.cy Center of Excellence of the University of Cyprus, in collaboration with the Municipality of Sotiras, invites you to the lecture of Prof. Constantinos Delta:
"The Cypriot Biobank and the DNA of Cypriots".

Greetings will be addressed by the Mayor of Sotiras, Mr. George Takkas and the Mayor of Ayia Napa, Mr. Christos Zannettou.

Monday, October 3, 2022, at 6:00 p.m. at the Municipal Theater Sotiras.

In the lecture there will be a presentation of the CY-Biobank program which concerns the creation of a Biobank for the Cypriot population.

As part of the Biobank for the Cypriot population, the action "Family Triads" will be launched with a call for volunteers to register, which aims to identify special features in the DNA of Cypriots that may be responsible for genetic or other diseases. The ultimate goal is the knowledge that will be acquired, to be used as a tool for disease prevention and prognosis as well as in the development of new treatments for the Cypriot population.

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What is the "Family Triads" Action?

The University of Cyprus Biobank, like other biobanks in Europe, consists of collections of medical records and biological material, such as DNA, which are stored in a systematic and secure manner. Biobank's goal is to support precision medical research and study the DNA of Cypriots. The success of the project depends on the voluntary participation of Cypriot citizens from all communities, Greek Cypriots, Turkish Cypriots, Maronites, Armenians, Latinos and others. Voluntary participation will help identify particular traits in the DNA of Cypriots that may be responsible for genetic or other diseases. The ultimate goal is the knowledge that will be acquired, to be used as a tool for disease prevention and prognosis as well as in the development of new treatments for the Cypriot population. The action "Family Triads" concerns a project that will be attempted for the first time in Cyprus and will provide the opportunity for medical studies for the benefit of the participants and the entire society. It requires the participation of two parents and a child over 18 years of age. The trio of participants, due to shared genes but also living together in a common environment for many years, gives useful results for the health of the family. This will support studies on obesity, diabetes, cardiovascular and other diseases, cancers, etc.

Volunteers answer a questionnaire about their medical history and give a small amount of urine and blood. The data is archived with confidentiality and full protection of personal data and will be available for scientific research. The process takes about forty minutes and each volunteer is sent the following analyzes free of charge:

  • Biometric data (fat measurement, bone density, etc.)
  • Haematological and biochemical blood analyzes and lipid profile
  • Urinalysis for renal function
  • DNA analysis for lactose intolerance

Prospective volunteers from Nicosia can visit the facilities at the Siakoleio Clinical Medicine Training Center (behind the Nicosia General Hospital) or at 89 Kennedy Avenue in Nicosia. Volunteers from the provinces of Larnaca, Limassol, Paphos and the free province of Famagusta can contact us to arrange an appointment in their city. Employees of the Ministry of Defense and members of the National Guard can visit the BMH 106 SNE Military Hospital in Aglantzia. After your first visit, as part of the study you may be invited in the future to monitor your health. If you wish to volunteer and contribute to the Cypriot DNA study, please contact 7777 1838 or 22 892815 or online at [email protected] or https://biobank.cy/el/epikoinoneia.

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What are the goals of the CY-Biobank Program?

The CY-Biobank project concerns each individual Cypriot as well as the Cypriot population as a whole. The main goal is the detailed mapping of the DNA of Cypriots and taking measures to improve our health. With the participation of thousands of volunteer donors from all over the island, information about your health will be collected and archived, along with samples of biological material, including DNA. These files and samples will be studied, by various researchers, in order to identify specificities and mutations of the DNA of Cypriots, which are responsible for various genetic diseases, rare or common, so that in the future the further diagnosis of each individual patient will be facilitated. Finally, the project aims to improve the prognosis and prevention of various diseases, to promote research, but also to discover new medicines.

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What is Biobank?

Biobanks are organized collections of medical records and information accompanied by volunteers' biological material such as DNA, serum, plasma, urine, and more to support precision medicine research. That is, they are infrastructures aimed at supporting research studies for the production of new knowledge that will help each patient individually (personalized medicine), with the development of innovative drugs and an improved process of diagnosis, prognosis and treatment.

Why is your participation important?

In order to achieve the intended progress in our health and at the same time to upgrade our quality of life, our participation as voluntary donors in this project is useful. The donation of biological material from a significant part of the Cypriot population is a basic condition in order to collect sufficient samples which will give us answers about the various genetic diseases of our people, after identifying the peculiarities and mutations of the Cypriot DNA.

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What does the registration and sampling process involve?

Recording and sampling will take approximately 45-50 minutes. Upon your arrival at Biobank, our experienced nursing staff, after informing you and answering your questions about the program, will let you fill in the special consent form (approved by the Cyprus National Bioethics Committee), and will ask you for some additional demographic information. Next, a painless examination will be carried out that includes various measurements (blood pressure, height, weight, waist circumference) and you will give some blood and urine. You will also be asked to complete a questionnaire about your personal and family history.

Does your participation come with any risk?

No, there is no danger. You will only need to donate some blood and maybe urine.

Is there a personal benefit to your participation?

You will be notified of the results of some useful blood tests. When signing the consent form, you can choose to be notified of new results, if and when they arise in the future, which will be useful for your health, or the health of your children. If you are healthy, data may emerge that will be useful for preventive purposes. If you are a patient, it is possible that the genetic or other etiology for your disease will be found which will help in better treatment. Also, the correct diagnosis may help prevent your children.

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How is your personal data protected?

The collection of data and biological material only takes place if you fill in the consent form, as approved by the Cyprus National Bioethics Committee and in full compliance with the European Personal Data Protection Regulation. All data and biological material is stored coded and encrypted in such a way as to preserve your anonymity as a volunteer donor. The electronic storage of encrypted data is protected by special modern software, which is operated by specially trained employees of the IT Infrastructure Service of the University of Cyprus. The University of Cyprus and Biobank take every possible measure to eliminate any risk of unauthorized access to this data and implement best practices for their security. The possible future use of the biological material or the electronic file by researchers is done after a special request and approval by bioethics committees. In the event that this use is approved, then the data is transferred anonymously and coded to the researchers concerned exclusively for conducting studies aimed at the general good of man and the advancement of science and health.

How can you participate?

If you meet the participation criteria stated in the brochure, you can contact the Biobank employee to arrange an appointment by calling 22-892815, or by sending a similar message to [email protected], or even by completing the electronic participation form on our website, at the link https://biobank.cy/redcap_el/ The CY-Biobank project is funded by the Horizon 2020 Research and Innovation program of the European Union, the Republic of Cyprus and the University of Cyprus .