Patients, health professionals and researchers working together towards curing arthritis and autoimmune diseases

Arthritis and autoimmune diseases are:

0 million
Australian children and adults live with arthritis, autoimmune or other musculoskeletal diseases
types of arthritis and autoimmune disease with no known cures
0+ billion
annual health system costs for arthritis alone
0 billion
economic impact of autoimmune diseases in Australia each year

What is the A3BC project?

The A3BC is a national musculoskeletal and autoimmune disease biobanking network developing state-of-the-art data collection, data linkage, big data analytics and machine-learning capabilities for enabling and translating research discovery. It integrates a broad range of ‘omic’ (genomic, microbiomic etc), patient-reported (demographics, treatment, quality of life, diet etc), medical and administrative health data from people with arthritis and autoimmune disorders across Australia. Collected data and biological samples are deidentified, processed, stored and made available for ethics-approved, open-access research into understanding causes and improving treatment and prevention towards finding cures for arthritis and autoimmune conditions.

Being an A3BC participant involves:

Donating biological samples

e.g. blood, saliva, discarded tissue from surgeries, faeces, urine

Enabling powerful 'omics' research

  • Genomics
  • Metabolomics
  • Microbiomics
  • Proteomics
  • Transcriptomics

Sample collections usually scheduled during routine clinic visits or appointments can be made with A3BC collection staff at a time that works for you.

Completing online questionnaires

on your computer, tablet or phone

Collecting Information on Your

  • Demographics
  • Medical history & treatments
  • Quality of life
  • Lifestyle
  • Diet
  • Environments and exposures

Emailed to you every 6 – 12 months to understand how your health, treatments, lifestyle and quality of life changes over time.

Consenting to health data linkage

from clinics, hospitals, state and national datasets

Opt-in to data linkage to

  • National – Medicare Benefits Schedule
  • National – Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme
  • National or state – cancer, death, immunisation records
  • State – admissions (emergency, inpatients), notifiable conditions etc.
  • Hospital/health district – electronic medical records
  • Patient-controlled – MyHealthRecord

‘Data-linkage’ means we bring together your health information from different sources with your permission. This linked information helps researchers gain a more complete understanding of health and health journeys over time.

How you can get involved

(*Pilot testing of A3BC study procedures is under way. Please feel free to contact us to register your interest in participating.)

The A3BC seeks to:

  • Establish a national, best-practice, open-access (ethics-approved) biobank network to collect, process and store a broad range of high-quality biospecimens for multi-omic research;

  • Integrate multi-omic data with multiple national datasets, including patient-reported outcome/ experience data (Australian Rheumatology Association Database – ARAD), electronic medical records (~40 hospitals), Commonwealth data (i.e. MBS, PBS) and cancer/death registries;

  • Apply cutting-edge visualisation (dashboards), big-data analytics and machine-learning tools to interrogate these integrated datasets for potential associations/patterns of patient and population significance; and

  • Enable the translation of research discoveries into a comprehensive evidence base for improved musculoskeletal policy/practice across precision and preventive medicine – to give the right care, to the right patient, at the right time!

What is a Biobank?
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