DENVER (KDVR) — A local woman would never have known she had a potentially deadly condition without the help of some leading-edge technology. 

Pam Dyer submitted her blood to the Biobank at the Colorado Center for Personalized Medicine at UCHealth just hoping to help researchers after getting a routine blood draw at her doctor.

The results found that Dyer had a heart condition that, if left untreated, could have led to heart failure.

“Never in my wildest dreams would I realize that just saying yes, checking a box, and having my blood contributed to this big pool of, population of DNAs, that it would have a direct correlation to me and I would benefit hugely,” Dyer said.

Blood test patients can consent to Biobank

The Biobank is a partnership between UCHealth and the University of Colorado at Anschutz Medical Campus.

“So far, we have returned over 350 results to patients like Pam,” said Kristy Crooks, director of CCPM Biobank. 

After a routine blood draw, Crooks said patients can opt to send their blood to the Biobank for free where it’s used for research and new studies and at the same time alert people if they’re at risk for developing a certain disease or condition. 

“What we’re hoping to do is empower patients and their providers to access care earlier and prevent really the severe outcomes. Like with Pam, having access to this cutting-edge drug through UCHealth means that her progression is likely to be less than it otherwise would have,” Crooks said.

Researchers at the Biobank also study how genes can influence response to medication.

“We’ve returned over 22,000 results to people on pharmacogenetics,” Crooks said. “That can help their providers figure out which medications are best for them in certain circumstances.”

Dyer said she feels fortunate. 

“It’s kind of like a win-win. They found it. It’s there, but there’s something that prevents it, so I can just keep on living and doing what I want to do without any impacts from the disease that I’m carrying,” Dyer said.

Crooks emphasized that although the Biobank‘s data is used for research, it is a federally-accredited clinical genetic testing laboratory that returns crucial genetic results to participants who have consented to have their DNA studied.