Oklahoma Blood Institute starts database to help in potential cures for rare diseases

OKLAHOMA - Give blood. Save three lives.

We know how important a life-saving blood donation can be.

Now, the Oklahoma Blood Institute is taking it a step further with software that could potentially find a cure for diseases.

"Cancer, auto immune diseases, metabolic disorders," said Dr. John Armitage, OBI President and CEO.

BioLinked is a program any donor can sign up for through a kiosk at OBI or online.

"It's really a match.com situation with researchers who need people to help them further their studies," he said.

Signing up is easy.

Just fill out a profile that includes your medical history.

Then, researchers around the country use that database to see if someone is a fit for their study.

"Do we have anybody that fits this certain profile?" Armitage said. "Say it's a woman over 50 with hyperthyroidism and heart disease. Well, we would know from this profile that we have someone out there."

The brand new initiative was created in Oklahoma, but institutions in Sarasota, Florida and San Antonio, Texas have also signed up.

They're hoping to get many more blood banks to sign on.

"If you're looking for a very rare disease to study, you need to have lots and lots of willing partners to find that match," Armitage said.

So far, 2,000 people have signed up for BioLinked, but it has the potential to reach 170,000 of registered Oklahoma donors a year.

"It's really the time in medicine to unlock the power of the individual, and we have so many wonderful individuals who unlock treatments," he said.

OBI wants you to know your information will not be given out without your written consent.

They will contact you if a researcher thinks you’re a match for a study.