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1.  The Infectious Diseases BioBank at King's College London: archiving samples from patients infected with HIV to facilitate translational research 
Retrovirology  2009;6:98.
The King's College London (KCL) Infectious Diseases BioBank opened in 2007 and collects peripheral venous blood (PVB) from individuals infected with pathogens including human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). PVBs are fractionated into plasmas, lymphocytes and DNA and are then frozen. All donations are from subjects who have given 'open consent' so samples can be used for virtually any type of biomedical research. The HIV component of the BioBank contains samples from over 400 donations from 138 HIV+ patients. Thus, the KCL Infectious Diseases BioBank - together with establishments such as the Spanish HIV BioBank - is likely to expedite translational research into this infection.
doi:10.1186/1742-4690-6-98
PMCID: PMC2779177  PMID: 19886990
2.  Variation of Peripheral Blood Mononuclear Cell RNA Quality in Archived Samples 
Biopreservation and Biobanking  2011;9(3):259-263.
The Infectious Diseases BioBank (IDB) has consistently archived peripheral blood mononuclear cell (PBMNC) RNA for transcriptome analyses. RNA is particularly labile, and hence, these samples provide a sensitive indicator for assessing the IDB's quality-assurance measures. Independent analyses of 104 PBMNC RNA specimens from 26 volunteers revealed that the mean RNA integrity number (RIN) was high (9.02), although RIN ranged between scores of 7 and 10. This variation of RIN values was not associated with ischemic time, PBMNC quality, number of samples processed per day, self-medication after immunization, freezer location, donor characteristics, differential white blood cell counts, or daily variation in RNA extractions (all P>0.05). RIN values were related to the date of collection, with those processed during mid-summer having highest RIN scores (P=0.0001). Amongst specimens with the lowest RIN scores, no common feature could be identified. Thus, no technical explanation for the variation in RNA quality could be ascertained and these may represent normal physiological variations. These data provide strong evidence that current IDB protocols for the isolation and preservation PBMNC RNA are robust.
doi:10.1089/bio.2011.0008
PMCID: PMC3178418  PMID: 21977241
3.  Qualitative study of knowledge and attitudes to biobanking among lay persons in Nigeria 
BMC Medical Ethics  2012;13:27.
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1186/1472-6939-13-27
PMCID: PMC3507723  PMID: 23072321
Biobanking; Non-communicable diseases; Public perspectives; Nigeria
4.  Population biobanking in selected European countries and proposed model for a Polish national DNA bank 
Journal of Applied Genetics  2012;53(2):159-165.
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.
doi:10.1007/s13353-012-0082-4
PMCID: PMC3334487  PMID: 22281780
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
5.  Current Status, Challenges, Policies, and Bioethics of Biobanks 
Genomics & Informatics  2013;11(4):211-217.
Many biobanks were established as biorepositories for biomedical research, and a number of biobanks were founded in the 1990s. The main aim of the biobank is to store and to maintain biomaterials for studying chronic disease, identifying risk factors of specific diseases, and applying personalized drug therapies. This report provides a review of biobanks, including Korean biobanks and an analysis of sample volumes, regulations, policies, and ethical issues of the biobank. Until now, the top 6 countries according to the number of large-scale biobanks are the United Kingdom, United States, Sweden, France, the Netherlands, and Italy, and there is one major National Biobank of Korea (NBK) and 17 regional biobanks in Korea. Many countries have regulations and guidelines for the biobanks, and the importance of good management of biobanks is increasing. Meanwhile, according to a first survey of 456 biobank managers in the United States, biobankers are concerned with the underuse of the samples in their repositories, which need to be advertised for researchers. Korea Biobank Network (KBN) project phase II (2013-2015) was also planned for the promotion to use biospecimens in the KBN. The KBN is continuously introducing for researchers to use biospecimens in the biobank. An accreditation process can also be introduced for biobanks to harmonize collections and encourage use of biospecimens in the biobanks. KBN is preparing an on-line application system for the distribution of biospecimens and a biobank accreditation program and is trying to harmonize the biobanks.
doi:10.5808/GI.2013.11.4.211
PMCID: PMC3897848  PMID: 24465232
biobank; bioethics; biospecimens; safety
6.  Two Large-Scale Surveys on Community Attitudes Toward an Opt-Out Biobank 
Although US research regulations allow for de-identified biorepositories to be developed without formal informed consent from the patients whose samples are included, it is unknown whether this model will be well-received by community members. Based on early evidence that such a biobank could be successful if patients who object have the opportunity to opt-out, Vanderbilt University developed a biorepository named BioVU that follows this model. This study reports the findings from two large-scale surveys among communities important to this biorepository. In the first, a population-based phone survey of Nashville residents, we found that approval for BioVU is high (93.9%) and that this approval is similar among all population groups. A hypothetical biobank that does not obtain some form of written permission is much less well received. In the second, an online survey of Vanderbilt University faculty and staff, we found a higher level of support for BioVU (94.5%) among faculty and staff working throughout the university. In this survey, employees least likely to approve of BioVU are those employees who prefer not to receive medical care at Vanderbilt University. These surveys demonstrate the highest level of approval for a genomic biobank ever reported in the literature, even among groups traditionally cautious about such research. This high level of approval may reflect increasing comfort with genomic research over time combined with the effect that trust in a specific institution can have on approval for an operating biobank compared with approval of a hypothetical biobank.
doi:10.1002/ajmg.a.34304
PMCID: PMC3222722  PMID: 22065592
biorepository research; patient perspectives; research ethics
7.  Biobanking research on oncological residual material: a framework between the rights of the individual and the interest of society 
BMC Medical Ethics  2013;14:17.
Background
The tissue biobanking of specific biological residual materials, which constitutes a useful resource for medical/scientific research, has raised some ethical issues, such as the need to define which kind of consent is applicable for biological residual materials biobanks.
Discussion
Biobank research cannot be conducted without considering arguments for obtaining the donors’ consent: in this paper we discuss to what extent consent in biobank research on oncological residual materials has to be required, and what type of consent would be appropriate in this context, considering the ethical principles of donation, solidarity, protection of the donors’ rights and the requirements of scientific progress. Regarding the relationship between informed consent and tissue collection, storage and research, we have focused on two possible choices related to the treatment of data and samples in the biobank: irreversible and reversible anonymization of the samples, distinguishing between biobank research on residual materials for which obtaining consent is necessary and justified, and biobank research for which it is not. The procedures involve different approaches and possible solutions that we will seek to define. The consent for clinical research reported in the Helsinki Declaration regards research involving human beings and for this reason it is subordinate to specific and detailed information on the research projects.
Summary
An important ethical aspect in regard to the role of Biobanks is encouraging sample donation. For donors, seeing human samples being kept rather than discarded, and seeing them become useful for research highlights the importance of the human body and improves the attitude towards donation. This process might also facilitate the giving of informed consent more willingly, and with greater trust.
doi:10.1186/1472-6939-14-17
PMCID: PMC3616854  PMID: 23547565
Biobanks; Consent; Oncological residual material; Cancer biobanks; Residual materials biobanks; Informed consent; Ethics; Research; Solidarity
8.  The Establishment of an ISO Compliant Cancer Biobank for Jordan and its Neighboring Countries Through Knowledge Transfer and Training 
Research studies aimed at advancing cancer prevention, diagnosis, and treatment depend on a number of key resources, including a ready supply of high-quality annotated biospecimens from diverse ethnic populations that can be used to test new drugs, assess the validity of prognostic biomarkers, and develop tailor-made therapies. In November 2011, KHCCBIO was established at the King Hussein Cancer Center (KHCC) with the support of Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) funding from the European Union (khccbio.khcc.jo). KHCCBIO was developed for the purpose of achieving an ISO accredited cancer biobank through the collection, processing, and preservation of high-quality, clinically annotated biospecimens from consenting cancer patients, making it the first cancer biobank of its kind in Jordan. The establishment of a state-of-the-art, standardized biospecimen repository of matched normal and lung tumor tissue, in addition to blood components such as serum, plasma, and white blood cells, was achieved through the support and experience of its European partners, Trinity College Dublin, Biostór Ireland, and accelopment AG. To date, KHCCBIO along with its partners, have worked closely in establishing an ISO Quality Management System (QMS) under which the biobank will operate. A Quality Policy Manual, Validation, and Training plan have been developed in addition to the development of standard operating procedures (SOPs) for consenting policies on ethical issues, data privacy, confidentiality, and biobanking bylaws. SOPs have also been drafted according to best international practices and implemented for the donation, procurement, processing, testing, preservation, storage, and distribution of tissues and blood samples from lung cancer patients, which will form the basis for the procurement of other cancer types. KHCCBIO will be the first ISO accredited cancer biobank from a diverse ethnic Middle Eastern and North African population. It will provide a unique and valuable resource of high-quality human biospecimens and anonymized clinicopathological data to the cancer research communities world-wide.
doi:10.1089/bio.2013.0072
PMCID: PMC3962647  PMID: 24620764
9.  Opening of the National Biobank of Korea as the Infrastructure of Future Biomedical Science in Korea 
On April 26, 2012, the Korea National Institute of Health officially held the opening ceremony of newly dedicated biobank building, ‘NationalBiobank of Korea’. The stocked biospecimens and related information have been distributed for medical and public health researches. The Korea Biobank Project, which was initiated in 2008, constructed the Korea Biobank Network consisting of the National Biobank of Korea (NBK) with 17 regional biobanks in Korea. As of December 2011, a total of 525,416 biospecimens with related information have been secured: 325,952 biospecimens from the general population obtained through cohort studies and 199,464 biospecimens of patients from regional biobanks. A large scale genomic study, Korea Association Resource (KARE) and many researches utilized the biospecimens secured through Korea Genome Epidemiology Study (KoGES) and Korea Biobank Project (KBP). Construction of ‘National Biobank of Korea’, a dedicated biobank building at Osong means that NBK can manage and check quality of the biospecimens with promising distribution of 26 million vials of biospecimen, which provide the infrastructure for the development of health technology in Korea. The NBK and the National Library of Medicine (to be constructed in 2014) will play a central role in future biomedical research in Korea.
doi:10.1016/j.phrp.2012.07.004
PMCID: PMC3738708  PMID: 24159511
biobank; biospecimen; cohort; Korea Biobank Project; Korea Biobank Network; National Biobank of Korea
10.  Autoantibodies predate the onset of systemic lupus erythematosus in northern Sweden 
Introduction
Autoantibodies have a central role in systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). The presence of autoantibodies preceding disease onset by years has been reported both in patients with SLE and in those with rheumatoid arthritis, suggesting a gradual development of these diseases. Therefore, we sought to identify autoantibodies in a northern European population predating the onset of symptoms of SLE and their relationship to presenting symptoms.
Methods
The register of patients fulfilling the American College of Rheumatology criteria for SLE and with a given date of the onset of symptoms was coanalysed with the register of the Medical Biobank, Umeå, Sweden. Thirty-eight patients were identified as having donated blood samples prior to symptom onset. A nested case-control study (1:4) was performed with 152 age- and sex-matched controls identified from within the Medical Biobank register (Umeå, Sweden). Antibodies against anti-Sjögren's syndrome antigen A (Ro/SSA; 52 and 60 kDa), anti-Sjögren's syndrome antigen B, anti-Smith antibody, ribonucleoprotein, scleroderma, anti-histidyl-tRNA synthetase antibody, double-stranded DNA (dsDNA), centromere protein B and histones were analysed using the AtheNA Multi-Lyte ANA II Plus Test System on a Bio-Plex Array Reader (Luminex200). Antinuclear antibodies test II (ANA II) results were analysed using indirect immunofluorescence on human epidermal 2 cells at a sample dilution of 1:100.
Results
Autoantibodies against nuclear antigens were detected a mean (±SD) of 5.6 ± 4.7 years before the onset of symptoms and 8.7 ± 5.6 years before diagnosis in 63% of the individuals who subsequently developed SLE. The sensitivity (45.7%) was highest for ANA II, with a specificity of 95%, followed by anti-dsDNA and anti-Ro/SSA antibodies, both with sensitivities of 20.0% at specificities of 98.7% and 97.4%, respectively. The odds ratios (ORs) for predicting disease were 18.13 for anti-dsDNA (95% confidence interval (95% CI), 3.58 to 91.84) and 11.5 (95% CI, 4.54 to 28.87) for ANA. Anti-Ro/SSA antibodies appeared first at a mean of 6.6 ± 2.5 years prior to symptom onset. The mean number of autoantibodies in prediseased individuals was 1.4, and after disease onset it was 3.1 (P < 0.0005). The time predating disease was shorter and the number of autoantibodies was greater in those individuals with serositis as a presenting symptom in comparison to those with arthritis and skin manifestations as the presenting symptoms.
Conclusions
Autoantibodies against nuclear antigens were detected in individuals who developed SLE several years before the onset of symptoms and diagnosis. The most sensitive autoantibodies were ANA, Ro/SSA and dsDNA, with the highest predictive OR being for anti-dsDNA antibodies. The first autoantibodies detected were anti-Ro/SSA.
doi:10.1186/ar3258
PMCID: PMC3241374  PMID: 21342502
11.  p-BioSPRE—an information and communication technology framework for transnational biomaterial sharing and access 
ecancermedicalscience  2014;8:401.
Biobanks represent key resources for clinico-genomic research and are needed to pave the way to personalised medicine. To achieve this goal, it is crucial that scientists can securely access and share high-quality biomaterial and related data. Therefore, there is a growing interest in integrating biobanks into larger biomedical information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructures. The European project p-medicine is currently building an innovative ICT infrastructure to meet this need. This platform provides tools and services for conducting research and clinical trials in personalised medicine. In this paper, we describe one of its main components, the biobank access framework p-BioSPRE (p-medicine Biospecimen Search and Project Request Engine). This generic framework enables and simplifies access to existing biobanks, but also to offer own biomaterial collections to research communities, and to manage biobank specimens and related clinical data over the ObTiMA Trial Biomaterial Manager. p-BioSPRE takes into consideration all relevant ethical and legal standards, e.g., safeguarding donors’ personal rights and enabling biobanks to keep control over the donated material and related data. The framework thus enables secure sharing of biomaterial within open and closed research communities, while flexibly integrating related clinical and omics data. Although the development of the framework is mainly driven by user scenarios from the cancer domain, in this case, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and Wilms tumour, it can be extended to further disease entities.
doi:10.3332/ecancer.2014.401
PMCID: PMC3922646  PMID: 24567758
biobank access; specimen management; p-BioSPRE; ObTiMA; Trial Biomaterial Manager; IDB; p-biobank wrapper
12.  Evolutionary concepts in biobanking - the BC BioLibrary 
Background
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.
Methods
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.
Results
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.
Conclusion
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.
doi:10.1186/1479-5876-7-95
PMCID: PMC2785772  PMID: 19909513
13.  Atomic Analysis of Protein-Protein Interfaces with Known Inhibitors: The 2P2I Database 
PLoS ONE  2010;5(3):e9598.
Background
In the last decade, the inhibition of protein-protein interactions (PPIs) has emerged from both academic and private research as a new way to modulate the activity of proteins. Inhibitors of these original interactions are certainly the next generation of highly innovative drugs that will reach the market in the next decade. However, in silico design of such compounds still remains challenging.
Methodology/Principal Findings
Here we describe this particular PPI chemical space through the presentation of 2P2IDB, a hand-curated database dedicated to the structure of PPIs with known inhibitors. We have analyzed protein/protein and protein/inhibitor interfaces in terms of geometrical parameters, atom and residue properties, buried accessible surface area and other biophysical parameters. The interfaces found in 2P2IDB were then compared to those of representative datasets of heterodimeric complexes. We propose a new classification of PPIs with known inhibitors into two classes depending on the number of segments present at the interface and corresponding to either a single secondary structure element or to a more globular interacting domain. 2P2IDB complexes share global shape properties with standard transient heterodimer complexes, but their accessible surface areas are significantly smaller. No major conformational changes are seen between the different states of the proteins. The interfaces are more hydrophobic than general PPI's interfaces, with less charged residues and more non-polar atoms. Finally, fifty percent of the complexes in the 2P2IDB dataset possess more hydrogen bonds than typical protein-protein complexes. Potential areas of study for the future are proposed, which include a new classification system consisting of specific families and the identification of PPI targets with high druggability potential based on key descriptors of the interaction.
Conclusions
2P2I database stores structural information about PPIs with known inhibitors and provides a useful tool for biologists to assess the potential druggability of their interfaces. The database can be accessed at http://2p2idb.cnrs-mrs.fr.
doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0009598
PMCID: PMC2834754  PMID: 20231898
14.  Developing a policy for paediatric biobanks: principles for good practice 
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.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2012.99
PMCID: PMC3533257  PMID: 22713814
15.  Biobanking in a Constantly Developing Medical World 
The Scientific World Journal  2013;2013:343275.
Biobank is a very sophisticated system that consists of a programmed storage of biological material and corresponding data. Biobanks are created to be used in medical research, in clinical and translational medicine, and in healthcare. In the past 20 years, a large number of biobanks have been set up around the world, to support the modern research directions in medicine such as omix and personalized medicine. More recently, embryonic and adult stem cell banks have been developed. Stem cell banking was reported to be required for medical research as well as clinical transplant applications. The quality of the samples stored in a biobank is very important. The standardization is also important; the biological material stored in a biobank must be processed in a manner that allows compatibility with other biobanks that preserve samples in the same field. In this paper, we review some issues related to biobanks purposes, quality, harmonization, and their financial and ethical aspects.
doi:10.1155/2013/343275
PMCID: PMC3794514  PMID: 24174912
16.  IT Infrastructure Components for Biobanking 
Applied Clinical Informatics  2010;1(4):419-429.
Objective
Within translational research projects in the recent years large biobanks have been established, mostly supported by homegrown, proprietary software solutions. No general requirements for biobanking IT infrastructures have been published yet. This paper presents an exemplary biobanking IT architecture, a requirements specification for a biorepository management tool and exemplary illustrations of three major types of requirements.
Methods
We have pursued a comprehensive literature review for biobanking IT solutions and established an interdisciplinary expert panel for creating the requirements specification. The exemplary illustrations were derived from a requirements analysis within two university hospitals.
Results
The requirements specification comprises a catalog with more than 130 detailed requirements grouped into 3 major categories and 20 subcategories. Special attention is given to multitenancy capabilities in order to support the project-specific definition of varying research and bio-banking contexts, the definition of workflows to track sample processing, sample transportation and sample storage and the automated integration of preanalytic handling and storage robots.
Conclusion
IT support for biobanking projects can be based on a federated architectural framework comprising primary data sources for clinical annotations, a pseudonymization service, a clinical data warehouse with a flexible and user-friendly query interface and a biorepository management system. Flexibility and scalability of all such components are vital since large medical facilities such as university hospitals will have to support biobanking for varying monocentric and multicentric research scenarios and multiple medical clients.
doi:10.4338/ACI-2010-05-RA-0034
PMCID: PMC3633318  PMID: 23616851
Requirement specification; biobanking; translational research information technology infrastructure
17.  Community engagement in biobanking: Experiences from the eMERGE Network 
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.
PMCID: PMC3434453  PMID: 22962560
18.  Biobanking in Atherosclerotic Disease, Opportunities and Pitfalls 
Current Cardiology Reviews  2011;7(1):9-14.
Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death in Western countries and current research is still focusing on optimizing therapeutic approaches in the battle against this multifactorial disease. Concepts regarding the pathogenesis of many cardiovascular diseases originate from observations of human atherosclerotic tissue obtained from autopsies or during vascular surgery. These observations have helped us to disentangle the pathophysiology of atherosclerosis. However, identifying vulnerable patients, those prone to developing cardiovascular complications, remains difficult. The search for predictive cardiovascular biomarkers continues and large, well organized biobanks are needed to discover or validate novel biomarkers. Biobanks are an extremely valuable resource that enables us to study the influence of both genetic and environmental factors on the development of multifactorial diseases such as atherosclerosis. This review will focus on the advantages and pitfalls in atherosclerotic biobanking.
doi:10.2174/157340311795677707
PMCID: PMC3131717  PMID: 22294969
Atherosclerosis; novel biomarkers; multifactorial disease; pathophysiology.
19.  A Trade Secret Model for Genomic Biobanking 
Genomic biobanks present ethical challenges that are qualitatively unique and quantitatively unprecedented. Many critics have questioned whether the current system of informed consent can be meaningfully applied to genomic biobanking. Proposals for reform have come from many directions, but have tended to involve incremental change in current informed consent practice. This paper reports on our efforts to seek new ideas and approaches from those whom informed consent is designed to protect: research subjects. Our model emerged from semi-structured interviews with healthy volunteers who had been recruited to join either of two biobanks (some joined, some did not), and whom we encouraged to explain their concerns and how they understood the relationship between specimen contributors and biobanks. These subjects spoke about their DNA and the information it contains in ways that were strikingly evocative of the legal concept of the trade secret. They then described the terms and conditions under which they might let others study their DNA, and there was a compelling analogy to the commonplace practice of trade secret licensing. We propose a novel biobanking model based on this trade secret concept, and argue that it would be a practical, legal, and ethical improvement on the status quo.
doi:10.1111/j.1748-720X.2012.00694.x
PMCID: PMC3476050  PMID: 23061589
20.  Researchers' opinions towards the communication of results of biobank research: a survey study 
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.
doi:10.1038/ejhg.2011.216
PMCID: PMC3283180  PMID: 22126749
biobanks; genetic databases; disclosing results; researchers' opinions
21.  Ethics of Clear Health Communication: applying the CLean Look approach to Communicate Biobanking Information for Cancer research 
Cancer innovations, such as biobanking technologies, are continuously evolving to improve our understanding and knowledge about cancer prevention and treatment modalities. However, the public receives little communication about biobanking and is often unaware about this innovation until asked to donate biospecimens. It is the researchers’ ethical duty to provide clear communications about biobanking and biospecimen research. Such information allows the public to understand biobanking processes and facilitates informed decision making about biospecimen donation. The aims of this paper are 1) to examine the importance of clear communication as an ethical imperative when conveying information about cancer innovations and 2) to illustrate the use of an organizing framework, the CLEAN (Culture, Literacy, Education, Assessment, and Networking) Look approach for creating educational priming materials about the topic of biobanking.
doi:10.1353/hpu.2012.0192
PMCID: PMC3735435  PMID: 23124500
Biobanking; health communication; ethics
22.  US and Scottish Health Professionals' Attitudes toward DNA Biobanking 
Background
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.
Objectives
To determine how useful healthcare professionals believe DNA biobanks will be and whether these attitudes differ between private and socialized healthcare systems.
Design
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.
Measurements
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
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).
Conclusions
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.
doi:10.1197/jamia.M2571
PMCID: PMC2410009  PMID: 18308988
23.  Willingness to Donate Human Samples for Establishing a Dermatology Research Biobank: Results of a Survey 
Biopreservation and Biobanking  2011;9(3):265-271.
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.
doi:10.1089/bio.2011.0009
PMCID: PMC3178419  PMID: 21977242
24.  Tumor biobanks in translational medicine 
The concept of tissue banking as a “bio-repository” aimed to collection, storing and distribution of human biological material and clinical information, is emerging as a successful strategy to support clinical and translational research. In particular, Tumor Biobanks represent a key resource for diagnosis, research and experimental therapies, especially for those correlated to clinical application of a new type of medicine known as “intelligent drugs”.
Biobanks are not “spontaneous” collections, but they needs an institutional organization, basically a research unit, whose effectiveness and quality can be guaranteed only if it is carefully organized according to precise and shared rules.
doi:10.1186/1479-5876-10-204
PMCID: PMC3548748  PMID: 23031272
25.  Patients’ Willingness to Participate in a Breast Cancer Biobank at Screening Mammogram 
Purpose
To characterize patients’ willingness to donate a biospecimen for future research as part of a breast cancer-related biobank involving a general screening population.
Materials and Methods
We performed a prospective cross-sectional study of 4,217 women aged 21 to 89 years presenting to our facilities for screening mammogram between December 2010 and October 2011. This HIPAA-compliant study was approved by our institutional review board. We collected data on patients’ interest in and actual donation of a biospecimen, motivators and barriers to donating, demographic information, and personal breast cancer risk factors. A multivariate logistic regression analysis was performed to identify patient-level characteristics associated with an increased likelihood to donate.
Results
Mean patient age was 57.8 years (SD 11.1 years). While 66.0% (2785/4217) of patients were willing to donate blood or saliva during their visit, only 56.4% (2378/4217) actually donated. Women with a college education (OR=1.27, p=0.003), older age (OR=1.02, p<0.001), previous breast biopsy (OR=1.23, p=0.012), family history of breast cancer (OR=1.23, p=0.004), or a comorbidity (OR=1.22, p=0.014) were more likely to donate. Asian-American women were significantly less likely to donate (OR=0.74, p=0.005). The major reason for donating was to help all future patients (42.3%) and the major reason for declining donation was privacy concerns (22.3%).
Conclusion
A large proportion of women participating in a breast cancer screening registry are willing to donate blood or saliva to a biobank. Among minority participants, Asian-American women are less likely to donate and further qualitative research is required to identify novel active recruitment strategies to ensure their involvement.
doi:10.1007/s10549-012-2324-x
PMCID: PMC3676182  PMID: 23129174
biospecimen; biobank; breast cancer; screening; patient willingness

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