A biobank is a type of biorepository that stores biological samples for use in research.  Biobanks have become an important resource in medical research, supporting many types of contemporary research like genomics and personalized medicine.

Biobanking refers to the process by which samples of bodily fluid or tissue are collected for research use to improve our understanding of health and disease.  Other information, such as height, weight and questions about things that may have a bearing on health (e.g. family history and lifestyle) may also be recorded at the same time, to provide the context for the samples. Often the samples are kept indefinitely or for several years, depending on the study, so that long term future research can be carried out.

BIOBANKING IS CHANGING THE WORLD
(according to Forbes)

Biobanking is here. Artificial Intelligence (AI)-driven process automation, data analytics, robotics, the internet, and other rapidly emerging technological advances are driving the revolution of biobanks, biorepositories, and biospecimen science. With the evolution of biobanking from a simple collection of frozen specimens to the virtual biobanks and bioscience seen today, the rise of biobanks brings each nation and its healthcare and economic systems a transformative potential.  

The immediate focus of rapidly developing https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3894636/" aria-label="biobanks">biobanks seems to be on disease understanding, drug discovery, and development. Furthermore, as biobank research hopes to provide new insights into the genetic component of human disease, another focus is developing an automated and a more personalized approach to healthcare.

The broader focus, however, seems to be not just on the human healthcare revolution. Biobanks focusing on animals, plants, and microbes are also evolving rapidly. From disease-centric biobanks to population-based banks, genetic banks, DNA/RNA banks, blood banks, tissue banks, virtual biobanks, microbiome banks, stem cell banks, and more, there are several types of specific project-driven, public and private biobanks across nations.

THE EVOLUTION OF BIOBANKS

The evolution of biobanks is rapidly enabling massive stores of human biological material and its associated information along with nonhuman materials: plants, animals, microbes, and more to be collected for use in agriculture, ecology, medical research, and drug development. There is a hope that the evolution of diverse biobanks and sharing capabilities will revolutionize research leading to personalized medicine and more.  With data no longer remaining in one laboratory ownership and when scientists can now begin to store large amounts of human biological and genetic data in community places for the broader research community to use and share, the potential of advancement increases enormously. 

COMPLEX CHALLENGES

From the collection of samples to storage and documentation to timely access to specimens and donor information, questions are emerging about ownership and consent for research. There are also growing questions about who owns the samples and data. 

Since the primary role of biobanks is to collect, catalog, and store biological samples and associated clinical data, they must also act as data guardians, responsible for ensuring patient privacy and data security. There is also a need to safeguard integrity in the way samples or specimens are collected and stored, ensuring they are only used for their intended purposes. Biobanks have already sparked debate due to concerns about the ethical, legal, and social implications surrounding the utilization of samples and data, e.g., consent, privacy, and confidentiality concerns. 

While biobanking is identified as a critical area for infrastructure development for drug discovery and development, it is vital to understand all the societal, technological, process, policy, legal, and ethical issues to better understand the challenges of biobanking broadly.

As biobanking is expected to change the world and is rapidly becoming a key area for infrastructure development, the hope is that the growing investments will enable scientific progress that will powerfully shape a nation’s economy by influencing our knowledge about human health, disease, drugs, personalized medicine, and more. The time is now to focus on biobanking and understand its risks and rewards.

Stay tuned, as we discover more about Biobanking over the next few weeks.  From Preparing Equipment and Instruments to Sample storage, to Data management software.

As a leader in Scientific Equipment Repair and Medical Equipment Calibrations, Scientific Instrument Center works with many corporations, universities, and hospitals providing the highest level of laboratory services. Whether we are providing biosafety cabinet calibration or medical equipment calibration, we keep your equipment performing to industry codes and regulations. Feel free to contact us at (614) 771-4700