MIDGAM – “Israel National Biobank for Research” was established at the initiative of Forum for the Creation and Development of Advanced Research Infrastructure (TELEM) and funded by the Innovation Authority, the Ministry of Health, the Ministry of Science, the Planning and Budgeting Committee of the Council of Higher Education and the Ministry of Finance in order to serve as a national infrastructure for promoting biomedical research and industry in Israel. MIDGAM is a non-profit organization managed within the Office of the Chief Scientist in the Ministry of Health.
MIDGAM is a biobank that provides researchers with biological samples and annotated data for the purpose of conducting legally approved studies. MIDGAM is comprised of five collection centers operating in the Tel Aviv, Rambam, Hadassah, Soroka and Kaplan medical centers, and a Head Office.
The collection centers locate and sign the donors, collect, process and store the samples and data. The Head Office maintains a central database, is responsible for determining the required collection, standards and quality control, contact with researchers, obtaining regulatory approvals and financial management.
Donor information is kept in the hospitals while the Head Office and researchers receive coded information.
The samples and annotated data are transferred to the researchers for participation in some of the expenses, while waiving intellectual property in advance. MIDGAM operates through a one-stop-shop method and offers researchers all the necessary assistance, including collection in accordance with specific research protocols and submission of requests for research approval to the IRB.
As of 2014, more than 200,000 biological samples have been collected from about 20,000 donors, most of them oncology patients.
MIDGAM recently received a large collection of DNA samples from patients with common diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, asthma, rheumatoid arthritis, colorectal cancer, breast cancer, schizophrenia, Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s disease, and from a control group of about 5,000 healthy people.
The samples and data collected at MIDGAM are currently used in dozens of studies in industry, academia and hospitals in Israel and around the world.