Biobanking is playing a crucial role in healthcare research. The range of biospecimens maintained in these banks includes saliva, blood, plasma and purified DNA. The biospecimens can be termed as libraries of human organism.
Biobanks also use the leftovers from normal medical procedures. For example, the unused blood of the patient who undergoes a blood draw procedure is usually thrown away, but biobanks store the leftover blood for medical research purposes with the consent of the patient.
The privacy of the patient is protected by identifying and removing patient information (address, SSN, name) from samples and related records. Researches who use these samples in biobanks must sign confidentiality documents, and all the information is stored in a secured database/repository.
According to The Hastings Center, the biospecimen samples include genetic material that can be used to identify gene variations related to human disease. These variations may result in new diagnostics and targeted treatments for certain disease, as well as pave the way to personalized treatment.
The Benefits of Biobanking
Biobanking networks are enhancing overall aims of medical disease research strategy such as cancer treatments. IT systems utilized by these banks are connecting the communications team with the national research database as well as with hospitals to focus on patient care rather than spending resources on competing as rivals.
Another advantage is the improvement in research quality and efficiency through coordinated access to secured biorepository storage.
Redundancy is implemented into critical systems including security backup, power and environmental control delivery, so the maintenance program ensures all samples and equipment remain in good condition when accessed for research. Specifically, the high quality of the samples and equipment ensures high quality research processes.
Also, translating new research into patient care will help in refining diagnosis, predicting outcome, and eventually result in patient-by-patient healthcare. Biobanking, therefore, is augmenting the march towards winning the battle against malignant diseases such as kidney cancer and cardiovascular ailment.
The biobanking infrastructure can also be modified for use in transitional research for other diseases, such as Alzheimer’s, or utilized for molecular epidemiology research. The generation of scientific insights needs powerful tools in the hands of researchers to facilitate data exploration driven research, and biobanking is playing a critical role in safeguarding research material.
Commercialization of Biobanking
Much of the biobanking activity today is focusing on identification of genes that might be useful for gene therapy and development of personalized medicine. Companies are realizing the importance of such medical developments and paying hefty sums for access to biobank research on particular diseases.
Adequate regulation of biobanks needs special attention on its unique attributes. For example, the raw material for samples is taken from people, and the end product is derived from the study of this raw material; the product has no ready substitutes, so the biobank should ensure the privacy of the research.
The philosophy is to make as many samples available to qualified researchers as possible, this helps improve existing treatment procedures and fuels the creation new ones. Therefore, biobanking places its data and samples for the benefit of medicine and science.
To sum it up, the structure of a biobank is to foster cross-collaboration between research-scientists, donors, and disease advocacy companies. They are producing a synergy that is hastening the research process, making treatment of previously incurable diseases attainable in the future.
Photo Credit By: sheffieldclinicalresearch.org