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The more we learn about disease, the more essential biobanks become – so why aren’t more people aware of their value?
Michael Schubert | | Longer Read
Biobanking – the act of preserving and storing samples of biomaterial – is an often-overlooked aspect of biomedical research, diagnostics, and prognostics. The samples stored in biobanks can yield valuable insight into disease processes over time, assist with retrospective studies of conditions and their causes, and stand families in good stead when a seemingly isolated instance of disease turns out to have a hereditary culprit. Not only researchers, but also pathologists, laboratory medicine professionals, and patients should value these resources. And yet, many people outside the laboratory aren’t even aware of the existence of biobanks, let alone the varied purposes they serve. Fewer still know how biobanks are changing to keep pace with our increasingly computerized world and the growing value of the data that accompanies samples – after all, what is a whole slide image archive if not a digital biobank? And what is a small piece of tissue without its accompanying clinical data?
We spoke to three experts from the Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure (BBMRI) – two pathologists involved in research and clinical care, and one trained patient expert – to learn more about what biobanking can do for today’s laboratory medicine.
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