Biobank Graz is one of the biggest biobanks in the world with millions of tissue, blood and DNA samples. Biobank Graz is located at the Medical University of Graz in Austria and stores 20 million samples from around 1.2 million people. The biobank has both population-based and disease-focused sample collections. Researchers from around the world can access these samples through research collaborations. The biobank is a publicly-owned non-profit organization. Funding for the biobank comes from public programs such as Horizon2020 and the COMET (Competence Centers for Excellent Technologies) program.
Samples Available at Biobank Graz
Biobank Graz stores a wide range of sample types including:
- whole blood
- buffy coat
- seminal plasma
- follicular fluid
- cumulus cells
The biobank now houses a population sample collection that spans the past 30 years. This collection includes samples from all diseases treated by surgery or biopsy at the Medical University of Graz. Therefore, it represents an unbiased Austrian patient population.
Biobank Graz also has a number of disease-focused prospective sample collections, including cohorts for cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, fertility disorders, febrile illnesses and osteoporosis.
The BioPersMed cohort includes patients with cardiovascular and metabolic diseases, including diabetes, fatty liver disease and osteoporosis. Since 2010, Biobank Graz has collected over 220,000 samples, and associated data, from over 1000 patients for this cohort. These samples include serum, plasma, buffy coat and urine. Clinical data include metabolic, cardiovascular, hormonal, lab and imaging data.
The KIWI cohort comprises patients who received fertility or assisted reproduction treatments at the Medical University of Graz. Since 2013, they have collected over 16,100 samples from 500 couples. Samples include serum, cumulus cells, single oocyte follicular fluid (not pooled), seminal plasma and embryo culture supernatant. Clinical data include endocrine profile, treatment details and treatment outcome.
The PERFORM cohort comprises 500 pediatric patients with febrile illness, and matched control samples. Samples include plasma, whole blood, urine, stool, and PAXgene.
The PoCOsteo cohort comprises 1000 osteoporosis patients, including both men and women, who are over the age of 50. Available samples include serum, plasma and buffy coat. Clinical data include clinical history, bone mineral density, vertebral fracture assessment, grip strength, and blood test results.
Biobank Graz can provide demographic, clinical, and survival data with all samples. This includes full medical records, including disease diagnosis, treatment and outcome and, where applicable, histopathological or imaging reports, immunohistochemical and/or molecular genetic characterization, and autopsy data.
Samples and data are collected as part of routine medical treatment at the University Hospital in Graz. All patients and donors (or their parents) sign a broad informed consent document allowing their samples to be used for medical research. The consenting process follows the ethical guidelines of the Declaration of Helsinki and Austrian National Standards. Standard operating procedures (SOPs) are specific for each sample type.
Biobank Graz is accredited by the International Organization for Standardization (ISO). All procedures follow ISO 9001:2015 and CEN/TS quality standards. The biobank has 24/7 temperature monitoring with a centralized alarm system.
The biobank maintains sample quality by using 2D-barcode labeling, semi-automated cryostorage and FFPE sample handling systems, automated liquid handling robots and fully automated -20°C and -80°C storage systems.
A Scientific and Ethical Advisory Board regularly reviews Biobank Graz systems and processes to ensure ethical compliance and quality assurance.
Biobank Graz collaborates with core facilities at the Center for Medical Research to provide a full range of sample analysis services.
Biobank Graz operates as a research partner not a sample provider. They share samples with external partners through research cooperation agreements. The biobank will partner with both academic and industry collaborators.
How to Access Samples at Biobank Graz
Applications to collaborate must be approved by both an Ethics Committee and an Approval committee. Biobank Graz prefers to keep all samples within their facilities, and perform all necessary testing at the Center for Medical Research in Graz. Applicants usually receive a decision within 3 weeks.
Researchers can download forms for project enquiries and project proposals at the Biobank Graz website.