March 07, 2018
Biobanking plays a critical role in facilitating clinical research. It provides better opportunities for advancing community health by the collection and preservation of biospecimens such as blood, plasma, tissues, and DNA. These biospecimens are then made available for use in research to discover disease biomarkers that can be used to diagnose various phases of diseases, oversee severity of diseases and predicting drug responses. Therefore, availability of high-quality and well-annotated biospecimens is imperative. However, a major roadblock in research is the limited availability of biospecimens and associated clinical data including medical, genealogical, and lifestyle information.
There are several factors that result in the limited availability of the well-annotated biospecimens:
Nowadays, awareness of the need for biobanks with well-annotated biospecimens has increased because of the growing promise of clinical research towards the development of personalized medicine. Effective biobanking requires educating the community to reduce misconceptions about donating biospecimens. This can be achieved through:
There are different types of biobanks currently supporting medical research:
Both types of biobanks facilitate clinical research by providing the comprehensive collection of biospecimens collected from both normal and diseased and in-turn accelerate drug discovery.
Top-rated biobanks typically provide the high-quality and well-annotated biospecimens as they understand the importance of these biospecimens for the advancements in disease treatments and cures. However, while searching for a biobank partner, one should look carefully at the quality of biospecimen annotation. The biospecimen annotation should include:
Clinical research and in-turn drug discovery is affected due to the lack of access to well-annotated biospecimen. This can lead to loss of time, money and resources. Sometimes drug candidates need to be withdrawn because of unanticipated side-effects, or a promising drug never gets approved if pharmaceuticals are unable to back their research with supporting data. Therefore, every effort should be made to increase societal awareness and understanding of the purpose of biobanks in healthcare. This will contribute to increasing the trust and confidence of donors regarding biobanking. In turn, there will be more participation of donor for providing well-annotated biospecimens and their consent for its use in research.