Our Background

Our Background

Biobanks are a collection of human biospecimens and associated data compiled for research purposes. A biospecimen is a biological specimen from the human body including tissue, blood, cell lines, and fluids such as urine.


Progress of biobanking in recent decades

Decade Progress
1900 first formalized biobanks established in BC and Canada
2000s frameworks to facilitate biobanking established (e.g. CTRNet 2004, BC BioLibrary 2007) and growth of international societies and journals dedicated to biobanking (e.g. ISBER, Biopreservation and Biobanking)
2010s first biobank education and training centre created in in Canada (OBER)


Why are these frameworks, societies and centers necessary?

  • disease focused research biobanks have often evolved as independent entities from the historical source of many biospecimens, clinical pathology and laboratory medicine archives
  • while research biobanks have developed advanced standards, protocols, databases, and mechanisms to interface with researchers seeking biospecimens this has created several challenges
  • challenges for biobanks include lack of common standards, limitations in their capacity and ability to ensure quality in the face of increasing demand, and relative disconnection from donors limiting accrual capacity and endangering public confidencee

What are some specific solutions?

One strategy is to establish centers to deliver support to biobanks and researchers conducting biobanking and to communicate common standards and policies amongst biobanks and between biobanks and the public through education and training.

 This is a key focus for the OBER


Another strategy is to establish networks to establish common standards and policies for biobanks and stimulate their adoption through certification, biobank data management solutions, and other mechanisms.

This is a key focus for the CTRNet