NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) - The National Institutes of Health said today that it is releasing massive amounts of genetic and clinical data from the Framingham Heart Study for free to qualified investigators.
Calling the program “one of the most extensive collections of clinical and genetic data ever made freely available to researchers worldwide,” the NIH said the data will allow researchers to study the genetic, clinical, and lab results from as many as 9,300 participants.
The data set, called the SNP Health Association Resource, or SHARe, can be accessed through the National Center for Biotechnology Information’s Database of Genotypes and Phenotypes, which NCBI launched in December 2006.
NIH said the Framingham SHARe data set includes data on more than 9,300 individuals spanning three generations of more than 900 families and more than 550,000 SNPs.
The Framingham Heart Study began in 1948 and originally included more than 5,200 participants. Another 5,000 spouses and children were added to the study in 1971 and another 4,000 were enrolled in 2002, the NIH said. As the study is ongoing, more data will continue to be added to the database in the future.
Genotyping for the study was conducted by Affymetrix under a contract with the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Along with NHLBI, the Framingham study is being conducted under collaborations with Boston University’s School of Medicine and School of Public Health.
"The widespread availability of Framingham Heart Study data provides unprecedented opportunities to investigate the connections between genes and disease," said Health and Human Services Secretary Mike Leavitt.
He added that SHARe is a “major milestone” in personalized healthcare.
His comments follow last month’s release of "Personalized Health Care: Opportunities, Pathways, Resources," an HHS report in which Leavitt called for a stronger focus on personalized medicine under HHS.
"As one of the most comprehensive studies ever undertaken, the Framingham Heart Study will play a vital role in laying the foundation for this vast dataset to help researchers link genes and disease," added Elizabeth Nabels, who directs NHLBI.
Application information for the SHARe date can be found here.