AutoGen, Inc., a leading provider of nucleic acid extraction equipment, announced Jan. 17 that they have installed 13 of their newest, most advanced automated DNA extraction solutions, the FlexSTAR+, to be used by Mayo Clinic, which was awarded funding by the National Institutes of Health (NIH) to create the biobank of the All of Us Research Program (formerly the Precision Medicine Initiative Cohort Program).

FlexSTAR+The fully automated DNA extraction system, the FlexSTAR+The biobank will use the fully automated DNA extraction system, the FlexSTAR+, which isolates and purifies long- stranded genomic DNA from up to 10ml volumes of whole blood, starting from the primary sample tubes and ending in the final DNA storage tubes ready to move to the freezer. The automated system uses Qiagen’s proven FlexiGene chemistry to produce high- quality DNA perfect for long- term storage, as well as many downstream assays.  Technical support will be provided by AutoGen to the biobank’s biomedical engineering team, through a fully staffed call center.

The state-of-the-art All of Us Research Program biobank will be the repository for biological samples collected from 1 million individuals in the United States. The highly- automated biobank will ultimately process, prep, store, and curate more than 35 million biospecimens, which will be a resource for researchers working to advance precision medicine.

“We are thrilled to provide our newest, fully automated DNA extraction technology as an integral piece of the automation platform in the creation of one of the world’s largest research-cohort biobanks,” said Bob Sullivan CEO of AutoGen, Inc. “Being chosen as a provider of automated extraction services for this national cohort program is a direct reflection on the strength of our core technology for extracting DNA by a precipitation chemistry method. The  FlexSTAR+ system offers full automation to help eliminate errors in sample handling, as well as an extraction method that produces the highest quality DNA to be used in future research to help advance precision medicine for decades to come. The biobank for the All of Us Research Program sets a new standard in the biobanking world for sample preparation and processing using the most automated DNA extraction system available.”

“Our main goal is to produce the highest quality DNA for long term storage and use. We look for proven reliability and scalability for such a large number of samples,” said Mine Cicek, PhD and Stephen Thibodeau, PhD, co-principal investigators of the All of Us Research Program biobank award. “We hope to improve the industry standards for biobanking with systems and processes we are putting in place.”

The Precision Medicine Initiative is a bold new research effort to revolutionize approaches to health and disease treatment. The Precision Medicine Initiative is a multi-agency effort that seeks to enable a new era of medicine through research, technology, and policies that empower patients, researchers, and providers to work together to develop individualized care. As one component of the broader Precision Medicine Initiative, the All of Us Research Program is a landmark longitudinal research effort that aims to engage 1 million or more U.S. participants to improve the ability to prevent and treat disease based on individual differences in lifestyle, environment, and genetics.