Biobanks are used to house blood and cell samples collected from a large population. The samples are collected with basic medical background and lifestyle information provided by individuals. The biobank supports efforts to better study and understand the many factors affecting a person’s likelihood of developing a long term condition like cancer.
When research endeavor to find cures for diseases like cancer, they need access to genetic data and samples to carry out their research. In a 2011 survey, 47 percent of researchers stated that had problems finding quality samples. In that same study, 81 percent of researchers said that this hindered their research options and affected the overall quality of their findings produced from their research.
How does a biobanking program operate?
Specimens are collected from thousands of individuals in a given population. Blood samples or tissue are collected from volunteers. Instead of marking samples with patient data, the samples are marked with unique identifiers. The barcoded identifiers provide a means to track and access patient data. The genetic material is collected from a patient using informed consent. The person must fill out a questionnaire when submitting the sample. The biorepository stores the samples in freezers. When researchers develop studies on certain illnesses or medical conditions, they may rely on the biobank samples for their research efforts. Once the samples are collected, they are grouped and characterized according to characteristics such as age, environment, sex, ethnicity or medical history.
What are the advantages to using a biobanking program?
Biobanking improves chances of identifying a cure for illnesses. This streamlines research and makes it easier for a person to collaborate with other researchers to uncover medical discoveries. Having a vast amount of genetic material readily accessible can greatly accelerate research efforts. Biobanking can also improve the reliability of research conducted for a person. Some studies require a lot in resources in funding to complete. These repositories eliminate some of the barriers in driving down costs.
Opportunities and potential with biobanking…
Imagine wanting to identify every potential risk they face for developing an illness. Suppose the disease is a rare condition that hasn’t been successfully researched in the past. In a world where participating in biobanking is commonplace, a person would have access to a wealth of information for risk factors based on their medical background because of wide participation among peers. Individuals can now crowdsource research efforts to improve the quality of data used in finding a cure for certain diseases. The ordinary person can now participate in efforts to submit their genetic data for review and screening. The submitted data will help researchers make advancements in health by provided unprecedented access to large volumes of data. In participating in these opportunities, individuals can share genetic information and become more empowered by the health data to make better decisions about their health.
Biobanking makes available to researchers large quantities of data from people of all backgrounds. These samples are accessible to researchers and can be used to conduct research long term conditions and illnesses. These samples can also be used to guide decision making in ordinary individuals hoping to become empowered by the data produced as a result of the samples used in research. The primary goal is to collect and maintain medical data to set the stage for medical breakthroughs.