The goal of the biorepository (biobank) is to help fragile newborn babies by improving our understanding of the disease necrotizing enterocolitis (NEC).
A biorepository is a research facility that collects and stores biological samples for research. Our biorepository holds samples from numerous medical centers across the country. Researchers share the samples, making it easier to study NEC.
The biorepository collects samples of blood, stool, urine, saliva, and stomach fluid from babies in the NICU. It also collects breast milk samples from the birthing parent. If a baby in the NICU has intestinal surgery for NEC or any other condition, intestinal tissue that would have otherwise been discarded is saved for the biorepository.
Two types of babies are eligible to participate: 1. Babies who are in the NICU and have developed NEC, and 2. Babies who are the same age as another baby who has developed NEC. Only babies at NEC Biorepository centers can participate.
The NEC Biorepository is funded by the National Institutes of Health, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, and the NEC Society.
The biorepository may be used for many scientific research projects. One project underway is the creation of a single-cell atlas of the human neonatal intestine. A single-cell atlas includes detailed information about individual cells and how these cells are different in healthy intestine compared to during NEC.
This project is one of five funded (from hundreds of applicants) by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (CZI) for Patient-Partnered Collaborations for Single-Cell Analysis of Rare Inflammatory Pediatric Disease.
The single-cell atlas will allow us to better understand the mechanisms that regulate important aspects of cellular differentiation, gut development, inflammation, disease progression, and resolution during and after NEC. Understanding the pathways involved in the pathobiology of NEC will shed light on why medically fragile infants are uniquely susceptible to NEC.
The project is intended to collect and analyze samples for four years. Research findings will be published as the project progresses (first publication anticipated for 2024).
This research will lead to better care for infants and their families in the neonatal intensive care unit (NICU), thus improving outcomes and saving lives.
You can support the NEC Biorepository by making a donation to the NEC Society