Clinical and translational research (CTR) requires well characterized patient cohorts partnered with appropriately collected and stored biospecimens. However, the time, energy and resources required to amass such resources are oftentimes scarce or just not available, especially to junior investigators or to investigators new to clinical and translational research. Investigators at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center (OUHSC) and Oklahoma Medical Research Foundation (OMRF) have established and maintained patient cohorts that encompass a wide range of diseases. Research involving these cohorts has supported the career development of junior investigators, both local and elsewhere. Established investigators also use these resources. Along with institutional support, a variety of funding mechanisms support these research cohorts. The most mature of these clinical research resources is the Lupus Family Registry and Repository (LFRR), which received support through an NIH contract for more than 15 years. The LFRR identifies families with systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE), and collects clinical information as well as biological samples. At present approximately 3000 SLE patients, 8000 family members and 2000 healthy controls are included with over 1000 data points stored in a searchable, HlPAA-compliant database. De-identified samples and/or information have been sent to 101 investigators around the world, and over 150 manuscripts have been published using these data. However, this critical resource has not been used to explore pathogenic mechanisms in common comorbidities, such as hypertension, diabetes and atherosclerosis. Another longitudinal cohort was established some 20 years ago. It maintains information on patients with thrombotic thrombocytopenic purpura (TTP) and is one of the largest in the world. Similar to the I.FRR, a wealth of clinical information is available within this database, but it is not completely satisfactory for clinical research. Because of limited funding, this cohort does not contain associated samples. Other cohorts at various stages of development in OSCTR institutions include pregnant American Indians, diabetes mellitus, rheumatic diseases, pancreatic cancer and multiple sclerosis.
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