GOSH Sample Bank

In 2019, we launched our GOSH Sample Bank initiative, enabling patients to donate their leftover samples to be used for vital child health research instead of them being thrown away.

The samples (including urine, blood, faeces or biopsies of skin and other tissue) will allow us to carry out more research to better understand rare conditions and develop new treatments.

Since the launch, we’ve collected consent from over 1000 patients, all agreeing to share their precious samples with GOSH researchers.

How does the GOSH Sample Bank work?

Normally, leftover samples are discarded once all the necessary tests have been carried out. This initiative allows us to ask patients for their consent to donate their leftover samples instead. Eventually, we’re aiming to build a rich resource of samples without the need to ask for extra tests or donations from our patients.

These leftover samples will have the potential to be used in a range of research projects. Sample banks are particularly important for specialist hospitals like GOSH where it can be hard to get enough samples to allow researchers to study rare conditions.

Sample Bank Research

Sample Bank is part of a wider aim within GOSH to integrate research into all we do. We hope that by allowing researchers access to patients’ leftover samples, instead of them being thrown away, we can carry out even more innovative research to improve children’s health.

Ultimately this will help researchers to answer important questions about why conditions occur and who is at risk. These answers will lead to quicker and more accurate diagnoses, better treatments for children and ultimately help more children fulfil their potential.

And the initiative is already starting to do just that, giving researchers easier access to the samples they need.

Scientists at GOSH are part of an international consortium of researchers working to improve the diagnosis of sepsis in adults and children. Sepsis occurs as an extreme response to an infection and is a dangerous medical condition that requires immediate treatment with antibiotics.

However, current diagnosis methods, through blood cultures, can take days. This means treatment is often given pre-emptively based on symptoms and the antibiotic treatments are broad to cover lots of infections. The SEPTIMET study will use cutting edge genomic sequencing technology, known as Nanopore sequencing, to try and reduce diagnosis time to hours.

Dr Nathaniel Storey, the lead investigator for the GOSH arm of this study, aims to use the technology to identify exactly what is causing the infection, and in turn the sepsis. If the researchers can determine an accurate way to calculate this, they hope that those treating patients with suspected sepsis will be able to make more informed clinical decisions within a much shorter time frame.

This work was supported by the UK National Measurement System and the European Metrology Programme for Innovation and Research (EMPIR) joint research project [18HLT03] “SEPTIMET” which has received funding from the EMPIR programme co-financed by the Participating States and the European Union's Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme.

Pulmonary hypertension (PH) is a rare and progressive disease, characterised by high blood pressure (hypertension) in the arteries of the lungs. GOSH is a national centre for paediatric pulmonary hypertension treatment, with over 500 children connected to the service.

As well as offering treatments, GOSH also runs genetic screening on children with PH and their relatives to identify why a child may have developed the condition. The PH team have recruited almost 100 of their patients into the Sample Bank initiative.

Currently the clinicians are collecting tissue samples from children who have had a lung transplant. Once they have a large collection of samples the team will be able to compare the tissues to understand differences and similarities across children with PH. As GOSH is the main site for PH treatment in children, the team will have access to even the most unique samples which will be invaluable to researchers in the future.

The Sample Bank project has given us access to vital blood samples from children with suspected sepsis infections without the need to ask for extra draws at an incredibly difficult time for families. Thanks to the initiative we are also able to use blood samples from across the hospital from children without sepsis to provide vital comparisons within our study.

Dr Nathaniel Storey, lead investigator of the SEPTIMET study

Get Involved

Speak to any of your GOSH team about how you can get involved in the GOSH Sample Bank.

For taking part in Sample Bank, there are different information leaflets depending on your age and if your are a parent or carer.