The participation of minors in biobank research can offer great benefits for science and
health care. However, as minors are a vulnerable population they are also in need of
adequate protective measures when they are enrolled in research. Research using biobanked
biological samples from children poses additional ethical issues to those raised by
research using adult biobanks. For example, small children have only limited capacity, if
any, to understand the meaning and implications of the research and to give a documented
agreement to it. Older minors are gradually acquiring this capacity. We describe
principles for good practice related to the inclusion of minors in biobank research,
focusing on issues related to benefits and subsidiarity, consent, proportionality and
return of results. Some of these issues are currently heavily debated, and we conclude by
providing principles for good practice for policy makers of biobanks, researchers and
anyone involved in dealing with stored tissue samples from children. Actual implementation
of the principles will vary according to different jurisdictions.
The work of Research Ethics Boards (REBs), especially when involving genetics research and biobanks, has become more challenging with the growth of biotechnology and biomedical research. Some REBs have even rejected research projects where the use of a biobank with coded samples was an integral part of the study, the greatest fear being the lack of participant protection and uncontrolled use of biological samples or related genetic data. The risks of discrimination and stigmatization are a recurrent issue. In light of the increasing interest in biomedical research and the resulting benefits to the health of participants, it is imperative that practical solutions be found to the problems associated with the management of biobanks: namely, protecting the integrity of the research participants, as well as guaranteeing the security and confidentiality of the participant's information.
We aimed to devise a practical and efficient model for the management of biobanks in biomedical research where a medical archivist plays the pivotal role as a data-protection officer. The model had to reduce the burden placed on REBs responsible for the evaluation of genetics projects and, at the same time, maximize the protection of research participants.
The proposed model includes the following: 1) a means of protecting the information in biobanks, 2) offers ways to provide follow-up information requested about the participants, 3) protects the participant's confidentiality and 4) adequately deals with the ethical issues at stake in biobanking.
Until a governmental governance body is established in Quebec to guarantee the protection of research participants and establish harmonized guidelines for the management of biobanks in medical research, it is definitely up to REBs to find solutions that the present lack of guidelines poses. The model presented in this article offers a practical solution on a day-to-day basis for REBs, as well as researchers by promoting an archivist to a pivotal role in the process. It assures protection of all participants who altruistically donate their samples to generate and improve knowledge for better diagnosis and medical treatment.
Biobanks and archived datasets collecting samples and data have become crucial engines of genetic and genomic research. Unresolved, however, is what responsibilities biobanks should shoulder to manage incidental findings (IFs) and individual research results (IRRs) of potential health, reproductive, or personal importance to individual contributors (using “biobank” here to refer to both collections of samples and collections of data). This paper reports recommendations from a 2-year, NIH-funded project. The authors analyze responsibilities to manage return of IFs and IRRs in a biobank research system (primary research or collection sites, the biobank itself, and secondary research sites). They suggest that biobanks shoulder significant responsibility for seeing that the biobank research system addresses the return question explicitly. When re-identification of individual contributors is possible, the biobank should work to enable the biobank research system to discharge four core responsibilities: to (1) clarify the criteria for evaluating findings and roster of returnable findings, (2) analyze a particular finding in relation to this, (3) re-identify the individual contributor, and (4) recontact the contributor to offer the finding. The authors suggest that findings that are analytically valid, reveal an established and substantial risk of a serious health condition, and that are clinically actionable should generally be offered to consenting contributors. The paper specifies 10 concrete recommendations, addressing new biobanks and biobanks already in existence.
incidental findings; return of results; biobanks; research ethics; bioethics; genetics; genomics
Biobanks include biological samples and attached databases. Human biobanks occur in research, technological development and medical activities. Population genomics
is highly dependent on the availability of large biobanks. Ethical issues must be
considered: protecting the rights of those people whose samples or data are in
biobanks (information, autonomy, confidentiality, protection of private life), assuring
the non-commercial use of human body elements and the optimal use of samples
and data. They balance other issues, such as protecting the rights of researchers
and companies, allowing long-term use of biobanks while detailed information on
future uses is not available. At the level of populations, the traditional form of
informed consent is challenged. Other dimensions relate to the rights of a group
as such, in addition to individual rights. Conditions of return of results and/or
benefit to a population need to be defined. With ‘large-scale biobanking’ a marked
trend in genomics, new societal dimensions appear, regarding communication, debate,
regulation, societal control and valorization of such large biobanks. Exploring how
genomics can help health sector biobanks to become more rationally constituted
and exploited is an interesting perspective. For example, evaluating how genomic
approaches can help in optimizing haematopoietic stem cell donor registries using
new markers and high-throughput techniques to increase immunogenetic variability
in such registries is a challenge currently being addressed. Ethical issues in such
contexts are important, as not only individual decisions or projects are concerned,
but also national policies in the international arena and organization of democratic
debate about science, medicine and society.
In order for DNA biobanks to be a valuable reservoir of genetic information, large numbers of participants from all racial and ethnic backgrounds need to be recruited. This study explored reasons for participating in a new biobank among primarily Hispanic and African American individuals, as well as their general attitudes towards genetic research, and their views on obtaining genetic tests. Focus groups were conducted with Mount Sinai Biobank participants recruited from predominantly lower income, minority communities. The topic guide included questions on The Mount Sinai Biobank, genetic research, and genetic testing. All focus groups were audio recorded, transcribed, and analyzed using thematic analysis. The six focus groups comprised 43 participants: 39 females and four males, aged 27–76 years, with a median household income category of $20,000–$39,999. Twenty-one participants were Hispanic, 20 African American, one Asian, and one White. Participants’ reasons for participating in the biobank included altruism, personal and family benefit, and general curiosity. Although there was evidence of conflation between genetic research and genetic testing, most participants held positive views of genetic research and expressed interest in receiving personal genetic test results. Participants wanted to learn more about genetic research and suggested various venues such as health fairs for disseminating information. Participation in biobanks by racial and ethnic minorities is apparently driven by altruism, and desire for personal or collective health benefits. Participants had generally positive attitudes, limited understanding of genetics and genetic research, and made useful suggestions regarding information dissemination mechanisms.
African American; DNA biobank; Focus groups; Hispanics; Motives
Advances in genomic technologies and the promise of “personalised medicine” have spurred the interest of researchers, healthcare systems, and the general public. However, the success of population-based genetic studies depends on the willingness of large numbers of individuals and diverse communities to grant researchers access to detailed medical and genetic information. Certain features of this kind of research – such as the establishment of biobanks and prospective data collection from participants’ electronic medical records – make the potential risks and benefits to participants difficult to specify in advance. Therefore, community input into biobank processes is essential. In this report, we describe community engagement efforts undertaken by six United States biobanks, various outcomes from these engagements, and lessons learned. Our aim is to provide useful insights and potential strategies for the various disciplines that work with communities involved in biobank-based genomic research.
Pediatric biobanks are an indispensible resource for the research that will be needed to bring advances in personalized medicine into pediatric medical care. Investigators developing pediatric biobanks have struggled with the ethical and legal challenges that arise in pediatric research. This article explores how one biobank model, the ‘human nonsubjects models’, is able to respond to such common challenges as the role of the parent and the child in agreeing to research participation, reconsent at the age of majority, data sharing and return of research results. Although this approach does not involve formal informed consent, it is well-suited to pediatric biobanking owing to its potential to reduce risk to children through a combination of advanced deidentification techniques and extensive oversight.
biobanking; data sharing; genomic research; pediatric research; research regulation; responsible conduct of research; return of research results
Large-scale population biobanks are critical for future research integrating epidemiology, genetic, biomarker and other factors. Little is known about the factors influencing participation in biobanks. This study compares the characteristics of biobank participants with those of non-participants, among members of an existing cohort study.
Individuals aged 45 and over participating in The 45 and Up Study and living ≤20km from central Wagga Wagga, New South Wales (NSW), Australia (rural/regional area) or ≤10km from central Parramatta, NSW (urban area) (n=2340) were invited to join a biobank, giving a blood sample and having additional measures taken, including height, weight, waist circumference, heart rate and blood pressure.
The overall uptake of the invitation to participate was 33% (762/2340). The response rate was 41% (410/1002) among participants resident in the regional area, and 26% (352/1338) among those resident in the urban area. Characteristics associated with significantly decreased participation were being aged 80 and over versus being aged 45–64 (participation rate ratio: RR = 0.45, 95%CI 0.34-0.60), not being born in Australia versus being born in Australia (0.69, 0.59-0.81), having versus not having a major disability (0.54, 0.38-0.76), having full-time caregiving responsibilities versus not being a full-time carer (0.62, 0.42-0.93) and being a current smoker versus never having smoked (0.66, 0.50-0.89). Factors associated with increased participation were being in part-time work versus not being in paid work (1.24, 1.07-1.44) and having an annual household income of ≥$50,000 versus <$20,000 (1.50, 1.26-1.80).
A range of socio-economic, health and lifestyle factors are associated with biobank participation among members of an existing cohort study, with factors relating to health-seeking behaviours and access difficulties or time limitations being particularly important. If more widespread participation in biobanking is desired, particularly to ensure sufficient numbers among those most affected by these issues, specific efforts may be required to increase participation in certain groups such as migrants, the elderly, and those in poor health. Whilst caution should be exercised when generalising estimates of absolute prevalence from biobanks, estimates for many internal comparisons are likely to remain valid.
Population biobanks offer new opportunities for public health, are rudimentary for the development of its new branch called Public Health Genomics, and are important for translational research. This article presents organizational models of population biobanks in selected European countries. Review of bibliography and websites of European population biobanks (UK, Spain, Estonia). Some countries establish national genomic biobanks (DNA banks) in order to conduct research on new methods of prevention, diagnosis and treatment of the genetic and lifestyle diseases and on pharmacogenetic research. Individual countries have developed different organizational models of these institutions and specific legal regulations regarding various ways of obtaining genetic data from the inhabitants, donors’ rights, organizational and legal aspects. Population biobanks in European countries were funded in different manners. In light of these solutions, the authors discuss prospects of establishing a Polish national genomic biobank for research purpose. They propose the creation of such an institution based on the existing network of blood-donation centres and clinical biobanks in Poland.
DNA banking; Genetic epidemiology; Population biobanks; Public health genomics; Life Sciences; Human Genetics; Plant Genetics & Genomics; Animal Genetics and Genomics; Microbial Genetics and Genomics; Life Sciences, general
During the past decade, various guidelines that imply a duty for researchers to disclose information obtained through research to participants have emerged. The character and extent of this obligation have been debated extensively, with much attention devoted to the decisiveness of the validity and utility of the results in question. The aim of this paper is to argue that individual results from research on materials stored in large-scale biobanks, consisting of samples taken within the healthcare system or of altruistically donated materials, should not be returned. We will defend the thesis that medical research on these biobanks should be viewed as a collective project to improve public health, and that available resources should be utilized to pursue this goal. We argue that there is a need for a change of perspectives. Medical research should not primarily be viewed as a danger that individuals must be protected from, but rather be recognized as constituting a necessary defense against current and future diseases. Research that bears the prospect of advancing medicine and that can be carried out at no risk to individuals should be endorsed and facilitated. This calls for a shift of focus from autonomy and individual rights toward collective responsibility and solidarity.
biobanks; returning results; solidarity; public health; altruism
Eighty Dutch investigators (response 41%) involved in biobank research responded to a web-based survey addressing communication of results of biobank research to individual participants. Questions addressed their opinion towards an obligation to communicate results and related issues such as ownership of blood samples, privacy, therapeutic relationship, costs and implications for participants. Most researchers (74%) indicated that participants only have to be informed when results have implications for treatment or prevention. Researchers were generally not inclined to provide more feedback to patients as compared with healthy participants, nor were they inclined to provide feedback in return for participants' contribution to the biobank. Our results demonstrate major and significant differences in opinion about the feedback of individual results within the community of biobank researchers.
biobanks; genetic databases; disclosing results; researchers' opinions
The development of genomics has dramatically expanded the scope of genetic research, and collections of genetic biosamples have proliferated in countries with active genomics research programs. In this essay, we consider a particular kind of collection, national biobanks. National biobanks are often presented by advocates as an economic “resource” that will be used by both basic researchers and academic biologists, as well as by pharmaceutical diagnostic and clinical genomics companies. Although national biobanks have been the subject of intense interest in recent social science literature, most prior work on this topic focuses either on bioethical issues related to biobanks, such as the question of informed consent, or on the possibilities for scientific citizenship that they make possible. We emphasize, by contrast, the economic aspect of biobanks, focusing specifically on the way in which national biobanks create biovalue. Our emphasis on the economic aspect of biobanks allows us to recognize the importance of what we call clinical labor—that is, the regularized, embodied work that members of the national population are expected to perform in their role as biobank participants—in the creation of biovalue through biobanks. Moreover, it allows us to understand how the technical way in which national biobanks link clinical labor to databases alters both medical and popular understandings of risk for common diseases and conditions.
biobank; clinical labor; database; risk; biovalue
The authors define a DNA biobank as a repository of genetic information correlated with patient medical records. DNA biobanks may assist in the research and identification of genetic factors influencing disease and drug interactions, but may raise ethical issues. How healthcare providers perceive DNA biobanks is unknown.
To determine how useful healthcare professionals believe DNA biobanks will be and whether these attitudes differ between private and socialized healthcare systems.
The authors surveyed 200 healthcare professionals, including research and non-research focused doctors, nurses and other staff from medical centers and independent practice in both the United States and Scotland. The survey included fifteen items evaluated for general receptiveness toward biobanks, presumed usefulness of biobanks and perceived attitudes in recruiting patients for a biobank.
A total of 81 (45%) of 179 eligible participants responded: 41 from the U.S. and 40 from Scotland. Of these respondents, most (70%) were from academic centers.
Results indicate that there is a broadly favorable attitude in both locations toward the creation of a DNA biobank (83%) and its perceived benefit (75%). This enthusiasm is tempered in Scotland when respondents evaluated their comfort in consenting patients for entry into a biobank; 16 of 40 respondents (40%) were uncomfortable doing so, representing a significant difference from those in the U.S. (p=0.001).
Despite systematic differences in healthcare practice between the U.S. and Scotland, health care professionals in both nations believe DNA biobanks will be useful in curing disease. This finding appears to support further development of such a research tool.
Biobanks are essential tools in diagnostics and therapeutics research and development related to personalized medicine. Several
international recommendations, standards and guidelines exist that discuss the legal, ethical, technological, and management
requirements of biobanks. Today's biobanks are much more than just collections of biospecimens. They also store a huge amount of
data related to biological samples which can be either clinical data or data coming from biochemical experiments. A well-designed
biobank software system also provides the possibility of finding associations between stored elements. Modern research biobanks
are able to manage multicenter sample collections while fulfilling all requirements of data protection and security. While
developing several biobanks and analyzing the data stored in them, our research group recognized the need for a well-organized,
easy-to-check requirements guideline that can be used to develop biobank software systems. International best practices along with
relevant ICT standards were integrated into a comprehensive guideline: The Model Requirements for the Management of Biological
Repositories (BioReq), which covers the full range of activities related to biobank development. The guideline is freely available on
the Internet for the research community.
The database is available for free at http://bioreq.astridbio.com/bioreq_v2.0.pdf
Biobank Software System; guideline; model requirement; personalized medicine
The aim of the overview is to give a perspective of global biobank development is given in a view of positioning biobanking as a key resource for healthcare to identify new potential markers that can be used in patient diagnosis and complement the targeted personalized drug treatment. The fast progression of biobanks around the world is becoming an important resource for society where the patient benefit is in the focus, with a high degree of personal integrity and ethical standard. Biobanks are providing patient benefits by large scale screening studies, generating large database repositories. It is envisioned by all participating stakeholders that the biobank initiatives will become the future gateway to discover new frontiers within life science and patient care. There is a great importance of biobank establishment globally, as biobanks has been identified as a key area for development in order to speed up the discovery and development of new drugs and protein biomarker diagnostics. One of the major objectives in Europe is to establish concerted actions, where biobank networks are being developed in order to combine and have the opportunity to share and build new science and understanding from complex disease biology. These networks are currently building bridges to facilitate the establishments of best practice and standardizations.
The dynamic development of biobanks causes some ethical, social, and legal problems. The most discussed problems are obtaining informed consent, especially for future research, from minors and from deceased people. The aim of this article is to present the current standards held by Polish biobanks concerning obtaining a participant's informed consent in some aspects.
Material and methods
Survey was carried out by anonymous questionnaire among 59 institutions which deal with the collecting and storage of human cells and tissues in the year 2008. Twenty four filled-in copies of the questionnaires were sent back (return=41%).
Almost every institution (92%) obtains written consent, but a third of the surveyed institutions (29%) do not obtain consent for the future use of the samples. The majority of the respondents (83%) support the idea of using biological materials for research purposes of a donor who died if he did not leave any written objection to such practices and 46% of respondents stated that biobanks should obtain the consent from the already mature donor who gave their samples as a child.
The practice and rules for obtaining informed consent for the scientific research require improvement. The possibility to use the human materials in the future, conditions for getting access to the data, the possibility of their withdrawal from the database and using the materials and data after the death of the donor should be clearly determined when the informed consent to collect the material is obtained.
biobanks; research ethics; informed consent; genetic collection; management
Increasing the size of prospective cohorts and biobanks is one approach to discovering previously unknown contributors to complex diseases, but it may come at the price of concealing contributors that are less common across all the participants in those larger studies and of limiting hypothesis generation. Prospective cohorts and biobanks constitute significant, long-term investments in research infrastructure that will have ongoing consequences for opportunities in biomedical research for the foreseeable future. Thus, it is important to think about how these major additions to research infrastructure can be designed to be more productive in generating hypotheses for novel environmental contributors to complex diseases and to help identify genetic and environmental contributors that may not be common across the larger samples but are more frequent within local or ancestral subsets. Incorporating open-ended inquiries and qualitative information about local communal and ecologic contexts and the political, economic, and other social structures that affect health status and outcome will enable qualitative hypothesis generation in those localized contexts, as well as the collection of more detailed genealogic and family health history information that may be useful in designing future studies. Using communities as building blocks for larger cohorts and biobanks presents some practical and ethical challenges but also enhances opportunities for interdisciplinary, multilevel investigations of the multifactorial contributors to complex diseases.
biobanks; communities; complex disease; gene–environment interaction; prospective cohorts; qualitative methods; research design
A research biobank is a collection of personal health and lifestyle information, including genetic samples of yet unknown but possibly large information potential about the participant. For the participants, the risk of taking part is not bodily harm but infringements of their privacy and the harmful consequences such infringements might have. But what do we mean by privacy? Which harms are we talking about? To address such questions we need to get a grip on what privacy is all about and aim for a fruitful perspective on the issues of property and privacy rights in the context of biobanking. This paper argues that the limits and handling of private matters is determined in specific social relations. The crucial point is thus to determine which information and activities are or are not the legitimate concern of others. Privacy and property rights should be seen as balanced by duties, that is as inherently relational interests extending into the public sphere, rather than to see these rights as the control of an object—for instance the participant’s biobank material.
Privacy; Biobanking; Genetic samples; DNA
Interest in biobanking for collection of specimens for non-communicable diseases research has grown in recent times. This paper explores the perspectives of Nigerians on donation of specimen for the biobanking research.
We conducted 16 Focus Group Discussions (FGD) with individuals from different ethnic, age and socio-economic groups in Kano (North), Enugu (Southeast), Oyo States (Southwest) and Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory (Central) of Nigeria. We used topic guides and prompt statements to explore the knowledge and understanding of interviewees to general issues about biobanking of biospecimens, their use and specifically about role of biobanking in non-communicable diseases research.
A total of 123 individuals participated in 16 focus group discussions in 2011. Our participants had limited knowledge of the concept of biobanking but accepted it once they were educated about it and saw it as a worthwhile venture. Half of our study participants supported use of broad consent, a quarter supported restricted consent while the remaining quarter were in favour of tiered consent. Most discussants support shipment of their samples to other countries for further research, but they prefer those collaborations to be done only with competent, ethical researchers and they would like to receive feedback about such projects. The majority preferred health care as a benefit from participation, particularly for any unexpected condition that may be discovered during the course of the research instead of financial compensation. Participants emphasized the need to ensure that donated samples were not used for research that contradicts their religious beliefs.
Our study demonstrates that our participants accepted biobanking once they understand it but there were different attitudes to elements of biobanking such as type of consent. Our study highlights the need to carefully document population attitudes to elements of modern scientific research and the consenting process.
Biobanking; Non-communicable diseases; Public perspectives; Nigeria
We conducted a deliberative engagement to assess attitudinal changes regarding biobank research, governance, and the return of results. We recruited African-Americans from two Southside Chicago health care facilities that serve communities of very different socioeconomic and educational backgrounds in order to examine similarities and differences within the African-American population. We used a mixed method, deliberative engagement process involving a convenience sample of parents recruited from a Federally Qualified Health Clinic (FQHC) [n = 23] and a university-based practice (UBP) [n = 22]. Four coding categories illustrate similarities and differences between participants from the two different practices: (1) reasons for and against participation; (2) trust and mistrust; (3) return of research results; and (4) religion. Overall, there was strong interest in receiving results, which was a main motivator for participation. While participants from both health care facilities expressed distrust of research, UBP participants also expressed trust in the research enterprise. FQHC participants more frequently mentioned religion. Studies about participation in biobanks often focus on participants’ race as the sole significant variable, while our work supports the importance of other demographic factors. Medical researchers must move beyond research analyses that consider the African-American population to be monolithic and value the diversity within it.
Socioeconomic status; Religion; African-Americans; Biobanks; Genetic research; Return of results
Medical research to improve health care faces a major problem in the relatively limited availability of adequately annotated and collected biospecimens. This limitation is creating a growing gap between the pace of scientific advances and successful exploitation of this knowledge. Biobanks are an important conduit for transfer of biospecimens (tissues, blood, body fluids) and related health data to research. They have evolved outside of the historical source of tissue biospecimens, clinical pathology archives. Research biobanks have developed advanced standards, protocols, databases, and mechanisms to interface with researchers seeking biospecimens. However, biobanks are often limited in their capacity and ability to ensure quality in the face of increasing demand. Our strategy to enhance both capacity and quality in research biobanking is to create a new framework that repatriates the activity of biospecimen accrual for biobanks to clinical pathology.
The British Columbia (BC) BioLibrary is a framework to maximize the accrual of high-quality, annotated biospecimens into biobanks. The BC BioLibrary design primarily encompasses: 1) specialized biospecimen collection units embedded within clinical pathology and linked to a biospecimen distribution system that serves biobanks; 2) a systematic process to connect potential donors with biobanks, and to connect biobanks with consented biospecimens; and 3) interdisciplinary governance and oversight informed by public opinion.
The BC BioLibrary has been embraced by biobanking leaders and translational researchers throughout BC, across multiple health authorities, institutions, and disciplines. An initial pilot network of three Biospecimen Collection Units has been successfully established. In addition, two public deliberation events have been held to obtain input from the public on the BioLibrary and on issues including consent, collection of biospecimens and governance.
The BC BioLibrary framework addresses common issues for clinical pathology, biobanking, and translational research across multiple institutions and clinical and research domains. We anticipate that our framework will lead to enhanced biospecimen accrual capacity and quality, reduced competition between biobanks, and a transparent process for donors that enhances public trust in biobanking.
The amount of research utilizing health information has increased dramatically over the last ten years. Many institutions have extensive biobank holdings collected over a number of years for clinical and teaching purposes, but are uncertain as to the proper circumstances in which to permit research uses of these samples. Research Ethics Boards (REBs) in Canada and elsewhere in the world are grappling with these issues, but lack clear guidance regarding their role in the creation of and access to registries and biobanks.
Chairs of 34 REBS and/or REB Administrators affiliated with Faculties of Medicine in Canadian universities were interviewed. Interviews consisted of structured questions dealing with diabetes-related scenarios, with open-ended responses and probing for rationales. The two scenarios involved the development of a diabetes registry using clinical encounter data across several physicians' practices, and the addition of biological samples to the registry to create a biobank.
There was a wide range of responses given for the questions raised in the scenarios, indicating a lack of clarity about the role of REBs in registries and biobanks. With respect to the creation of a registry, a minority of sites felt that consent was not required for the information to be entered into the registry. Whether patient consent was required for information to be entered into the registry and the duration for which the consent would be operative differed across sites. With respect to the creation of a biobank linked to the registry, a majority of sites viewed biobank information as qualitatively different from other types of personal health information. All respondents agreed that patient consent was needed for blood samples to be placed in the biobank but the duration of consent again varied.
Participants were more attuned to issues surrounding biobanks as compared to registries and demonstrated a higher level of concern regarding biobanks. As registries and biobanks expand, there is a need for critical analysis of suitable roles for REBs and subsequent guidance on these topics. The authors conclude by recommending REB participation in the creation of registries and biobanks and the eventual drafting of comprehensive legislation.
The promise of science lies in expectations of its benefits to societies and is matched by expectations of the realisation of the significant public investment in that science. In this paper, we undertake a methodological analysis of the science of biobanking and a sociological analysis of translational research in relation to biobanking. Part of global and local endeavours to translate raw biomedical evidence into practice, biobanks aim to provide a platform for generating new scientific knowledge to inform development of new policies, systems and interventions to enhance the public’s health. Effectively translating scientific knowledge into routine practice, however, involves more than good science. Although biobanks undoubtedly provide a fundamental resource for both clinical and public health practice, their potentiating ontology—that their outputs are perpetually a promise of scientific knowledge generation—renders translation rather less straightforward than drug discovery and treatment implementation. Biobanking science, therefore, provides a perfect counterpoint against which to test the bounds of translational research. We argue that translational research is a contextual and cumulative process: one that is necessarily dynamic and interactive and involves multiple actors. We propose a new multidimensional model of translational research which enables us to imagine a new paradigm: one that takes us from bench to bedside to backyard and beyond, that is, attentive to the social and political context of translational science, and is cognisant of all the players in that process be they researchers, health professionals, policy makers, industry representatives, members of the public or research participants, amongst others.
Storage of leftover biosamples generates rich biobanks for future studies, saving time and money and limiting physical impact to sample donors.
To investigate the attitudes of Chinese patients and the general public on providing consent for storage and use of leftover biosamples.
Design, Setting and Participants
Cross-sectional surveys were conducted among randomly selected patients admitted to a Shanghai city hospital (n = 648) and members of the general public (n = 492) from May 2010 to July 2010.
Main Outcome Measures
Face-to-face interviews collected respondents-report of their willingness to donate residual biosample, trust in medical institutions, motivation for donation, concerns of donated sample use, expectations for research results return, and so on.
The response rate was 83.0%. Of the respondents, 89.1% stated that they completely understood or understood most of questions. Willingness to donate residual sample was stated by 64.7%, of which 16.7% desired the option to withdraw their donations anytime afterwards. Only 42.3% of respondents stated they “trust" or “strongly trust" medical institutions, the attitude of trusting or strongly trusting medical institutions were significantly associated with willingness to donate in the general public group.(p<0.05) The overall assent rate for future research without specific consents was also low (12.1%). Hepatitis B virus carriers were significantly less willing than non-carriers to donate biosamples (32.1% vs. 64.7%, p<0.001).
Low levels of public trust in medical institutions become serious obstacle for biosample donation and biobanking in China. Efforts to increase public understanding of human medical research and biosample usage and trust in the ethical purposes of biobanking are urgently needed. These efforts will be greatly advanced by the impending legislation on biobanking procedures and intent, and our results may help guide the structure of such law.
There is a rising need for biomaterial in dermatological research with regard to both quality and quantity. Research biobanks as organized collections of biological material with associated personal and clinical data are of increasing importance. Besides technological/methodological and legal aspects, the willingness to donate samples by patients and healthy volunteers is a key success factor. To analyze the theoretical willingness to donate blood and skin samples, we developed and distributed a questionnaire. Six hundred nineteen questionnaires were returned and analyzed. The willingness to donate samples of blood (82.5%) and skin (58.7%) is high among the population analyzed and seems to be largely independent of any expense allowance. People working in the healthcare system, dermatological patients, and higher qualified individuals seem to be in particular willing to donate material. An adequate patient insurance as well as an extensive education about risks and benefits is requested. In summary, there is a high willingness to donate biological samples for dermatological research. This theoretical awareness fits well with our own experiences in establishing such a biobank.