Experiences and challenges of setting up biobanks and biobanking networks

Monday, 17 February 2014

This is a Euroscicon Small Conference,  an outline of the day can be found at 

Experiences and challenges of setting up biobanks and biobanking networks
Monday, 17 February 2014 09:00 - 17:00

Cineworld: The O2
Peninsula Square
SE10 0DX
United Kingdom

Map and Directions

Biobanking 2014 will discuss the skills and efforts needed to set up and maintain the banking of Biospecimens used for basic research through clinical trials. How to set up efficient and effective collection, processing, storage, and tracking of biospecimens will be discussed.  Bringing together biomedical and biopharmaceutical researchers, regulators, biorepository managers, and practitioners this event will  investigate the best methods for effective storage of biospecimens in the 21st Century.

This event has CPD accreditation and is part of BioBanking 2014 - www.biobanking2014.com

Meeting Chair: Kirstin Goldring - BioBank facilitator, UCL BioBank, London, UK

The final agenda can be downloaded from

Talks include

Mixed models for biobanking in Academia

Kirstin Goldring - BioBank facilitator, UCL BioBank, London, UK

Biobanking and legacy management of viable primary cells and cell lines from large cohort disease studies by Public Health England.

Mr Jim Cooper, Cell Biology Applications Scientist, ECACC Scientific Development Group, Culture Collections, Public Health England, UK

PHE’s secure site at Porton Down has served international industry and academia for over 25 years through its service of processing human blood samples to accurately cryo-preserve, store and distribute viable primary lymphocytes, cell lines and nucleic acids from tens of thousands of individuals and their family members to help advance the study of hundreds of genetically associated diseases.  Originally established to support the Human Genome Mapping Project (HGMP) the service has evolved and continues to enable the MRC DNA banking Network, the Wellcome Trust and dozens of industrial and academic groups and charity funded projects to achieve their goals.  The service accurately processes thousands of samples in a high throughput manner with quality assurance provided by barcode tracking, testing of samples for sterility and ensuring genetic identity is maintained from blood through to cell line and extracted nucleic acids.  Cells are optimally cryo-preserved and stored in a dedicated liquid nitrogen warehouse where samples can be confidently retrieved decades after storage.  There have been significant challenges in maintaining this high quality system, data management, HTA and quality compliance in a not-for-profit organisation.  Looking forward, the Culture Collections of PHE are adapting this infrastructure to help serve the emerging field of personalised medicine and the development of large cohort Induced Pluripotent Stem Cell Banks.

Challenges in Academic Biobanking-Once Bitten?

Dr Sayeda Abu-Amero, Manager of Baby Bio Bank, Senior Teaching Fellow, Institute of Child Health, UK

The Baby Bio Bank (BBB) project has been successfully collecting biological samples to aid future research into the four main complications of pregnancy: Recurrent Miscarriage (RM); Intra-uterine Growth Restriction (IUGR); Preterm Birth (PTB) and Pre-eclampsia (PET). We have also collected a normal cohort for comparative analysis. By obtaining biological samples from both parents (blood samples) and from the baby (term placenta which is normally discarded after birth, cord blood and fetal membranes)

together with demographic and clinical data we are now able to provide researchers with the tools they require to determine the biological and genetic aetiology of these complications.

Harmonisation - a hot topic

Mrs Anne Carter, Portfolio Lead - Biobanking, NCRI, UK

Harmonisation is "hot" because it is highly topical - but also because it inspires great debate amongst biobankers.  How can we harmonise without reducing standards to the lowest common denominator?  The Confederation of Cancer Biobanks has devised a standard for biobanks, written by the cancer biobanking community but suitable for any biobank wishing to assess its own performance in light of its peers' expectations.  The standard forms the basis of a voluntary peer-review audit system.  Hear about how the standard was devised and how it is being used to improve the "fitness for purpose" of samples provided to researchers.

The Bio-PIN, advantages for Biobanks and Biobank networks

Dr J.J. Nietfeld, Associate Professor / Senior Scientist, University Medical Center Utrecht, The Netherlands

A PIN code based on personal biological characteristics and unique for each participant of whom samples of body material and associated data are deposited in one or more biobanks, enables a new way of biobanking and international collaboration. Labelling such samples and data with this Bio-PIN allows registering and storing them  anonymously, but keeping the possibility of 2-way communication between participants and the biobank(s), via a personal ‘biobank account’ on a secure website. Because of the anonymity privacy protection costs can be saved and differences between privacy laws of different countries do not impede international biobank networks.

The National Breast Cancer Campaign Tissue Biobank in Partnership with the Nottingham Health Science Biobank

Dr Balwir Matharoo-Ball, Nottingham Health Science Biobank Operations Manager, Nottingham University Hospitals NHS Trust, UK

The need for a specialist breast cancer biobank was highlighted in a survey carried out by the UK charity Breast Cancer Campaign where a Gap Analysis covering seven different research areas identified that a lack of access to appropriate clinical material was a significant barrier in accelerating translational research into clinical benefit.  As a direct result of this report, Breast Cancer Campaign set about establishing a dedicated national breast cancer biobank in the UK: the Breast Cancer Campaign Tissue Bank, with the aim of filling this gap. The Breast Cancer Campaign Tissue Bank (BCCTB) was established in January 2010, when prospective tissue collections began, and is a four centre alliance of leading UK centres of excellence in breast cancer: Barts Cancer Institute, London, the Universities of Dundee, Leeds and Nottingham, in partnership with the Nottingham Health Science Biobank and with multi-disciplinary expertise in breast pathology, basic science, bioinformatics and information technology. The BCCTB collects a broad spectrum of biomaterials to meet the needs of a diverse research community, all ethically collected from breast cancer patients with written informed consent. The BCCTB collects consistent, comprehensive information including patient, pathology and clinical data all carefully mined from clinical and laboratory databases according to shared standard operating procedures. The informatics system developed for the BCCTB has brought together four centres in the UK, each with their own IT systems and associated data terms, yet presenting to the researcher a unified search facility and tissue application system. Following a pilot opening, limited to researchers funded by Breast Cancer Campaign, the BCCTB opened to all researchers based in the UK and Ireland in January 2012 and is expanding to receive material from other sites (collaborating centres). It will open internationally and to industry in the future. The BCCTB aims to provide fair access to all in order to maximise public benefit and advance medical knowledge.

Registration Website: www.regonline.co.uk/biobanking2014

Keywords: Biobank, network, privacy, protection costs, international collaboration, harmonisation, accreditation, quality management, peer review, standards, biobanking, lymphocytes, genetic disease, iPSC, cryo-preservation, Biobank, Breast Cancer, Network, Nottingham, Breast Cancer Campaign, complications  pregnancy international resourcce

A meeting report from this event will be published by The Biomedical Scientist


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