The COLS Plan

HOW COLS IS DIFFERENT FROM OTHER BIOBANKS

There are several characteristics of COLS that differentiate it from existing repositories.

First, most biobanks are created to study a given disease and consist of samples from ill patients. In contrast, COLS is disease inclusive by design. Many participants will be well when they enter the study; although, some will have chronic diseases at the outset. COLS will continue collecting samples for a decade. As people become ill that data will be captured in the bank. Therefore, both rare and common diseases will be represented over time because of the size of the cohort.

Second, COLS is omics exhaustive; that is blood and urine will be collected and stored in a way that preserves multiple molecules. Most biobanks are designed to preserve only one molecule, most commonly DNA. Previously, the dogma was that the genome was the key to understanding health and disease. We now understand that most diseases cannot be explained solely by one’s genome, but instead by dynamic changes in molecules such as proteins and lipids, which are influenced by the environment and fluctuate over time.

Third, population density of the multidimensional community health data that will be collected by COLS, will allow researchers to analyze social determinants of health at the neighborhood level. While many studies collect public health data, there are very few with the level of saturation within communities that COLS will achieve.

Fourth, COLS is a longitudinal repository. Most biobanks consist of a single biological sample or multiple samples that are collected at infrequent and inconsistent intervals. In contrast, COLS will collect biological samples annually. Information about the social determinants of health including survey data and EHRs will be collected at more frequent intervals.

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