Biobank Diversity Presents Management Challenges
The diversity of biobanks presents challenges for management, conclude researchers, who urge that governing policies take into account the nuances of individual biobanks. While recognized for their increasingly significant role in biomedical research, biobanks as a whole remain generally uncharacterized. A new study, published Jan. 25 in Genome Medicine, begins to systematically study the entities. […]
- Age. Two-thirds of biobanks were established in the last decade, but 17 percent have existed for more than 20 years.
- Focus. More than half (53 percent) were established to research a particular disease. Biobanks established after 2003 (the sequencing of the human genome) were significantly more likely to have been created to focus on research generally.
- Size. There is a great disparity in the size of biobanks with a few very large specimen collections in existence (range in number of specimens stored under 100 to 50 million; mean number 461,396; median number 8,000).
- Specimens. The majority (87 percent) store more than one type of specimen with serum/plasma (77 percent) the most common, followed by solid tissue (69 percent).
- Specimen source. Stored pediatric specimens (44 percent) and post-mortem specimens (36 percent) were common. Residual specimens from hospitals and other clinical settings were the source for 57 percent of stored samples.
- Organization. The majority (88 percent) are embedded in a larger organization.
- Funding. The federal government (36 percent) and the biobanks’ parent organization (30 percent) are the largest sources of funding.
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