Airwave Health Monitoring Study Tissue Bank (AHMS)

  • Research type

    Research Tissue Bank



  • Research summary

    Airwave Health Monitoring Study Tissue Bank (AHMS)

  • REC name

    North West - Haydock Research Ethics Committee

  • REC reference


  • Date of REC Opinion

    22 Feb 2019

  • REC opinion

    Favourable Opinion

  • Data collection arrangements

    Airwave has been collecting and storing biological samples (40ml blood collected and stored, 12ml urine stored) and data from healthy volunteers of UK police forces since 2004. Participants have agreed that any clinical data or data from laboratory experiments performed using their samples may be made available to other research and health care groups approved by the relevant research ethics committee. This is explained in the information leaflet sent to individuals before they consent to take part in the study. Most participants (c.95%) have given consent for long term storage of their blood and urine samples. Permission has been obtained from all participants to access their past and future medical and other health-related records via the NHS tracing service using NHS number OR name, address, sex and date of birth. Arrangements for participant withdrawal are in place according to GPDR regulations.
    Participants who attend a follow-up screen renew their consent to be a part of AHMS as well as the procedures being carried out at the clinic. They are provided with an information leaflet prior to their visit, which explains the purpose of the follow-up study and what to expect in the clinic. They are encouraged to ask any questions and get satisfactory answers before signing the consent.
    Consent to participate in Airwave will apply throughout the lifetime of the tissue-bank unless the participant withdraws. Further consent will be sought for any proposed activities that do not fall within the existing consent.
    Airwave data will be migrated from its current secure (air-gapped) network based at the Paddington campus to Imperial College’s ISO/27001 certified secure environment – “Enclave”. This is a managed infrastructure and highly secure data processing environment. Airwave has also shared pseudonymised research data with the Dementias Platform UK whose operating environment is similarly certified.
    Access to data samples is controlled via an Access Committe

  • Research programme

    The Airwave Health Monitoring Study Tissue Bank (AHMS) is an epidemiological study of police service employees in Britain. It was established to investigate possible long-term health effects associated with use of the TETRA radio system by the police forces. The cohort also provides a valuable opportunity for broader research into common diseases affecting a well-defined occupational group and includes substantial numbers of men and women who are being followed up for many years. Participants who took part in health screening gave broad consent for collection and storage of blood and urine samples for future research, and linkage to health and other records. Up to 95% of the volunteers who have been screened have given consent for this option. Those who have opted out of this clause have had their samples destroyed after testing in laboratory. Since the study launch in 2003, 28 of 54 police forces agreed to participate. We currently have c.53,000 participants, of whom c.46,000 have undergone health screening. This includes lifestyle and questionnaire data, cognitive tests, clinical measurements and collection of biological samples. Follow-up is progressing through access to past and future medical, occupational and other health-related records, and re-screening. In 2013, AHMS were given Tissue Bank status by NRES which has facilitated programmes of research without need for individual project-based ethical approval. The study has been set up to collect and store samples and data to establish a sampling framework from which people, presumed healthy at donation, can be selected based on their genotype and/or phenotype to be invited for observational studies or clinical trials. The Study's value is greatly enhanced by a follow-up health screening of participants. Researchers will be able to detect developments or changes in the characteristics of the target population at both group and individual level.

  • Storage license


  • RTBTitle

    Airwave Health Monitoring Study Tissue Bank (AHMS)

  • Establishment organisation

    NIHR National Biosample Centre

  • Establishment organisation address

    Units 2 & 3, Java Park,

    Bradbourne Drive


    MK7 8AT