The WHI maintains a large repository of biological specimens available to investigators with approved and funded ancillary studies. The repository is located in Rockville, MD and maintained by Fisher Bioservices.
Baseline through Year 9 samples were collected at the WHI Clinical Centers. Urine was collected from bone mineral density (BMD) participants only at the Universities of Alabama, Arizona, and Pittsburgh (bone density clinicals). Long Life Study (LLS) samples were obtained in the participant’s home, between March 2012 and May 2013 (~Year 14 – 20).
Investigators should use the WHI Query Builder to check if there are enough participants with a given specimen for their proposed ancillary study. Studies are limited in the volume of samples they can request.
Additional information about collection, timing, processing (e.g., extraction and quantitation methods), shipment, and quality control are described in the WHI manual and in the Long Life Study: Synopsis of Blood Protocol.
Volume limit: 0.25 milliliters
When requested, DNA is extracted from the stored buffy coat. An aliquot is made for the testing lab and the remaining sample is returned to the WHI repository.
DNA has been extracted using different methods over time.
The current “Five Prime” extraction method was developed at Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center (Seattle, WA) using Qiagen reagents in a method designed to maximize both quality and yield. An ancillary study may receive samples extracted by different methods or freshly extracted DNA. The DNA is extracted “as needed”, thus the extraction date does not correlate with the date of the blood draw. Long Life Study DNA was extracted using the Five Prime method.
Volume limit: 0.25 milliliters (RBCs), 1-2 micrograms (DNA)
Volume limit: 0.5 milliliters
For the Long Life Study visit, RNA/miRNA was extracted from a PAXgene tube within ~1 month of collection. The concentration of RNA was determined by NanoDrop.
Volume limit: 0.5 micrograms
Biospecimen samples are available to principal investigators with an approved and funded ancillary study. The steps from a funded study to specimen results with linkage to WHI survey data are depicted in the flowchart.
CCC = Clinical Coordinating Center; SPL = Specimen Processing Labs
The WHI program is funded by the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute, National Institutes of Health, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.
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