Cantabria Cohorte study will monitor 50000 people

1 de March de 2021

Cohorte Cantabria will allow to know in depth the characteristics of the population of Cantabria and its behavior in key aspects for health such as lifestyle habits, risk factors for getting sick, the causes of the main diseases and, even more importantly, favoring development of personalized, predictive and preventive medicine.

These are the main objectives of this population study, pioneer in Spain, which has been launched in Cantabria, promoted by the Valdecilla Research Institute (IDIVAL) and endorsed by the Ministry of Health to seek synergies that make it possible to reconcile the enormous health effort and economic carried out to combat COVID-19 and promote biomedical research in the region.

The project, called “Cohorte Cantabria”, already in a very advanced design phase, will recruit some 50,000 volunteers from the region to investigate their health and analytical data, obtained from blood samples. In addition, all of them will be periodically monitored over the years, which will help to deepen the knowledge of their characteristics.

“Cohorte Cantabria” is possible thanks to the enormous involvement of a large number of professionals and will focus initially on the study of the evolution of the response to COVID-19 infection, although it was born as a multipurpose cohort that will be able to study many other diseases.

Design and endorsement by IDIVAL and UC

In these first phases, for its deployment, the study is designed by a mixed team in which researchers from IDIVAL and the University of Cantabria (UC) participate, endorsed by the main health institutions in our region.

In fact, the initiative includes, among others, the director of Digital Transformation and Relations with Users, Santiago García Blanco; the Deputy Director of Health Assistance of the Cantabrian Health Service (SCS), Trinitario Pina; the SCS Primary Care Manager, Alicia Gómez and the Manager of the Marqués de Valdecilla University Hospital (HUMV), Rafael Tejido.

For its part, the team of researchers participating in the first design phase is made up of IDIVAL's scientific director, Marcos López Hoyos; the head of the Digestive Service, Javier Crespo; the UC professor of epidemiology, Trinidad Dierssen and the Director of Management of IDIVAL, Galo Peralta.

Given the size of the study, the participation of a significant number of health professionals is expected, both in the aspects of design, initial deployment, follow-up and analysis of results over the years.

Take advantage of vaccination against the coronavirus

For its deployment, which will foreseeably begin next February, the vaccination against the coronavirus of the population of Cantabria will be used, which involves a huge logistical effort and will have direct contact with most of the population of the Autonomous Community.

Thus, from the summoned population to be vaccinated, a group of volunteers, of legal age, representative of different population cohorts, will be chosen at random in advance.

Those selected for the study will be contacted previously and those who agree to participate voluntarily, while being vaccinated, will provide health information through questionnaires and the blood sample, for safe storage.

All the extractions will be kept in the IDIVAL Biobank to develop, a posteriori, all the studies that require biological samples, together with the data of the participants that help to understand the epidemiology, risk factors, genetics, among others, of various diseases.

International reference

The cohorts, such as the one that is planned to be deployed with this study, called Cantabria Cohorte, are very valuable sources of information in the field of health research and will allow Cantabria, in a matter of a few years, to participate in large international collaborative projects of the first level.

Some examples of important international cohorts with a long history, well known in the medical world and that have provided much useful information to improve the management and prevention of diseases, are the American Framingham cohort (focused on cardiovascular diseases) and the English cohort United Kingdom Prospective Diabetes Study (UKPDS, focused on diabetes).