The cohorts Malmö Diet Cancer, MDC, and Malmö Preventive Project, MPP, have together studied about 50,000 Malmö residents. The surveys began in the 1970s and the re-surveys were completed in 2012. In 2013, in Malmö started the Malmö Offspring Study, MOS, which investigates children and grandchildren to former participants in MDC.
The cohorts have generated important results
The information and blood samples collected represent a world-unique material and a large number of studies have been conducted based on these studies. Many dissertations have been written and important results have been presented. The topics that have been investigated include risk factors/markers for cancer, heart attack, stroke and diabetes. The cohorts have also been used in studies of rheumatic diseases and the importance of social determinants for health.
Collection of data
The participants in the surveys answered a number of lifestyle questions (e.g. smoking, alcohol and physical activity), past illnesses and what they eat. All participants were weighed and measured. Blood samples were taken and these are now collected in freezers at Skåne University Hospital, Malmö, and Region Skåne Biobank (BD47) in nearby Lund.
Data from the cohorts are used in studies world wide
What has been collected is a common asset for the scientific world. Researchers, from Sweden and abroad, are encouraged to use the materials in their studies. However, access to information and samples is subject to certain conditions. Ethical permission is required for all studies and all activities are conducted in accordance with the EU Data Protection Regulation 2016/679 (GDPR) and the Swedish Data Protection Act SFS 2018: 218. In some cases, personal ID is needed, such as when interconnecting to different registers, but this information is de-identified before it reaches individual researchers. More information on how to apply for materials can be found here.
Securing quality when using the biobank
In 2015, a quality handbook was completed and has been produced as part of the quality work for the sample collections. Quality assurance of the biobank is important to ensure good quality of research based on the biobank materials and to ensure that the biobank can be used without compromising the integrity of the individual participant. The preparation of a quality manual shall ensure that procedures are in place for samples to be handled, stored and used in such a way that the quality, traceability and safety of the biobank are met. Respect for the privacy of the individual participant should always be the focus.