Beryllium BioBank (formerly Beryllium Bio-Repository)
Chronic Beryllium Disease (CBD) may result from occupational exposure to beryllium and has been one of the serious health problems affecting the former and current DOE workforce. Of the 60,000 potentially exposed former and current workers who have participated in DOE-conducted medical screening programs, approximately 800 have been identified to have beryllium sensitization (BeS, a condition that may lead to CBD in some people) and over 200 have been diagnosed with CBD. In the absence of an animal model to study the disease, current research to improve the understanding, diagnosis, and treatment of this disease depends entirely on studies of human cells and tissues. Given that DOE has conducted its medical screening programs for more than a decade; it is in a unique position to facilitate research on CBD by establishing a repository of biological specimens. The goal of the Beryllium BioBank is to archive important clinical specimens and other data to ensure their availability for research to improve our understanding of beryllium-related disease. The participants in this program are all volunteers and have given their written consent to participate. This initiative is funded through the Office of Health and Safety.
The BioBank includes donated blood, sputum, and lung tissues (bio-specimens) from three groups of volunteers: 1) former and current DOE workers with CBD, 2) workers who developed sensitization to beryllium (BeS), and 3) workers exposed to beryllium who are not sensitized and do not have the disease (controls). Based on the current number of workers who were either diagnosed with CBD or BeS and matching controls, the total number of donors for the Repository is estimated at 1,200 to 1,500 individuals.
Phase I of the Beryllium Bio Repository initiative completed preparation of a Standard Protocol by a Committee of expert clinicians and scientists from National Jewish Medical and Research Center, University of Pennsylvania Hospital, University of California Los Angeles, University of California San Francisco, University of Colorado, National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health, and Mayo Clinic.
Phase II is being conducted with the participation of five clinical centers which have conducted clinical evaluations for the majority of current and former DOE workers suspected of having CBD: National Jewish Medical and Research Center, University of Pennsylvania Hospital, East Tennessee Pulmonary Associates, University of California Los Angeles, and University of California San Francisco. Donations of blood and tissue samples were obtained from individuals diagnosed either with CBD or BeS, as well as matching control individuals (those exposed to beryllium but without sensitivity or disease). In addition, other medical information related to CBD and BeS, and occupational work histories, and exposure information have been collected.
For further information on the Beryllium BioBank, please contact Dr.
Dr. Cliff Strader.
To apply for use of the BioBank data, please visit: