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17 April 2008
A retired fire service employee has become the 100,000th person to join UK Biobank - the pioneering medical project to improve the health of future generations.
The landmark moment fell to Mrs Pam Jones of Llys Illtyd, Creigiau, Cardiff, who received a commemorative plaque from Welsh Assembly Government First Minister Rhodri Morgan to mark the achievement. The Dean of Medicine at Cardiff University Professor David Wynford-Thomas also presented tickets to an operatic gala performance by singers from the Cardiff International Academy of Voice at Cardiff University.
Researchers at Cardiff University have taken a lead in shaping the national project. More than 13,000 people have joined the ambitious health initiative from Cardiff so far, where the response to the letters of invitation to take part in the project has been consistently high.
In congratulating Mrs Jones, the First Minister who is one of the 100,000 who have joined UK Biobank, said: "Biobank is a great opportunity for volunteers to do something positive for the health of future generations. To reach 100,000 participants in just a year is a fantastic example of partnership between citizens and researchers.
"Although there is no major personal gain for participants, the results of this study will have benefits for the health of future generations. Technology doesn’t stand still. Health scientists need to continue to build a broader, richer range of data in order to understand more about how we treat life-threatening conditions such as cancer or heart disease."
Cardiff University’s Vice-Chancellor, Dr David Grant, said: "As an international centre of medical research and education, Cardiff University is proud to be part of the success of this visionary medical project to improve the health of future generations."
Mrs Jones and her husband Aelfryn were motivated to join UK Biobank because the project will help to improve the health of future generations. "Both my husband and I have lost our parents to heart disease or cancer. It seemed to us that if we could play our part in helping to prevent these diseases in the future then we should do it."
UK Biobank began recruiting participants in April 2007, and opened its assessment centre at the University’s MediCentre last October The project, also recruiting in six other towns and cities in the UK, is now well on the way to its target of 500,000 participants by the end of 2010.
The most detailed study of its kind, the ambitious project is building a major health resource to help scientists and doctors find out why some people get particular diseases such as cancer, heart and lung disease and dementia, and others do not. The work will pave the way for better prevention and treatment of disease and improved public health for many years to come.
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