Biobank - What is that?

Biobank is the short form for biomaterial bank. But what exactly is a biomaterial bank?

Human biomaterial banks (short: biobanks) are collections of human body substances (i.e. blood, DNA, urine or tissue) connected with disease specific information. This allows for research of relations between diseases and underlying (molecular) modifications and paves the way for the development of target-oriented therapies ("personalised medicine"). 

The biobank material arises from samples taken for therapeutical or diagnostic reasons or is extracted in the context of clinical trials. Prior to any storing or research activities, a patient consent is needed.

The merge of already existing Charité biobanks and the prospective collection at the three clinical locations will generate a large sample collection of various biomaterials and corresponding data. The objective is to improve the quality and efficiency of research and to accelerate the knowledge transfer and dissemination. 

The basis for the operation of the ZeBanC are a vote from the ethics committee and a comprehensive data protection concept, as well as defined processes for passing on materials and data to third parties, while maintaining the rights of the patient. As a standard procedure, a panel with representatives from different institutions will decide on the transfer of samples and data for each research project.
The ZeBanC has the requirement to store the entrusted samples and perform the associated processes to the highest possible level of customer satisfaction and in the best possible quality.  

The ZeBanC pursues the following objectives:

  • Prospective collection of biomaterials according to standardised process and workflows
  • Merging of already existing internal Charité biobanking resources
  • Development and maintenance of a data base with a connection to clinical data base systems
  • Concentration and improvement of existing sample collections through central storage and common standard operating procedures (SOPs)
  • Developing a secure environment in the patient’s interest concerning data security and ethical issues, which also helps to realize research projects and clinical trials
  • Data protection and ethically secure environment of samples and data
  • Supplying a central biobank infrastructure for future (joint) projects/trials

Another central point is the comprehensive and continious exchange of experience and information between all BMBF-sponsored biobanks, as well as the Technologie- und Methodenplattform für die vernetzte Forschung e.V. (TMF).

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