Biospecimens represent a critically important resource in pediatric brain injury research. Data from these specimens can be used to identify and classify injury, understand the molecular mechanisms underlying different types of brain injury, and ultimately identify therapeutic targets to tailor treatments for individual patient needs. To realize the full potential of biospecimens in pediatric traumatic brain injury (TBI), standardization and adoption of best practice guidelines are needed to ensure the quality and consistency of specimens. Multiple groups, including the National Cancer Institute (NCI), the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER), and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), have previously published best practice guidelines for biospecimen resources. Recommendations have also been provided by the Biospecimens and Biomarkers Workgroup of the interagency TBI Common Data Elements (CDE) initiative. The recommendations from all of these sources, however, focus exclusively on adult biospecimen collection. There are no published pediatric-specific biospecimen collection guidelines. An additional workgroup was formed to specifically address this gap. The aim of the Pediatric TBI CDE Biospecimens and Biomarkers Workgroup was to provide recommendations for best practice guidelines to standardize the quality and accessibility of biospecimens for pediatric brain injury research in general, and for pediatric TBI research in particular. Consensus recommendations were developed by review of previously published adult-specific recommendations, including the recommendations of the original TBI Common Data Elements Biospecimens and Biomarkers Workgroup, and by participation in the interagency workshop “Common Data Elements for TBI Research: Pediatric Considerations,” held in Houston, Texas in March of 2010. These recommendations represent expert opinion on this subject. The authors of this article were members of the Biospecimens Workgroup. We hope that with adoption of these best practices, future investigators will be able to obtain biospecimens in a consistent way that meets the needs of pediatric patients, and helps to accelerate acquisition of pediatric-specific biomarker data.
Key words: best practices, biomarkers, common data elements, pediatrics, standardization, traumatic brain injury