The International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER) has announced the signature of a Memorandum of Agreement with the International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC), the specialized cancer agency of the World Health Organization (WHO).
ISBER is the only global forum that addresses harmonization of scientific, technical, legal, and ethical issues relevant to repositories of biological and environmental specimens. The mission of ISBER as a global organization is to create opportunities for sharing ideas and innovations in biobanking and harmonizes approaches to evolving challenges for biological and environmental repositories.
ISBER fosters collaboration, creates education and training opportunities, provides an international showcase for state-of-the-art policies, processes, and research findings, and innovative technologies, products, and services. Together, these activities promote best practices that cut across the broad range of repositories that ISBER serves.
IARC’s mission is “cancer research for cancer prevention”. The objective of the IARC is to promote international collaboration in cancer research. The agency is inter-disciplinary, bringing together skills in epidemiology, laboratory sciences and biostatistics to identify the causes of cancer so that preventive measures may be adopted and the burden of disease and associated suffering reduced.
IARC’s Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) Biobank and Cohort Building Network (BCNet) initiative arose from the realization that despite improvements in developed countries, population cohorts and biobanking facilities are either underdeveloped or non-existent in LMICs.
In this context and in line with IARC’s mission to contribute to worldwide cancer research, BCNet was set up as an opportunity for LMICs to work together in a coordinated and effective manner and jointly address the many challenges in biobanking infrastructure, including ethical, legal, and social issues (ELSIs).
The memorandum will facilitate the implementation of joint activities in support of IARC’s BCNet initiative. Through this agreement, ISBER and IARC aim to work collaboratively to address the many shared challenges in biobanking infrastructure and practice in LMICs.
In addition, ISBER and IARC will collaborate on the creation of a joint working group for the development of educational activities for clinical biobanking in LMICs and the joint promotion of the ISBER Best Practices, as well as the IARC Common Minimum Technical Standards and Protocols for Biobanks Dedicated to Cancer Research.
“ISBER is very excited to extend the established agreement with BCNet,” … “This agreement demonstrates the mutual intention to advance the collection and management of repositories, even in geographies who have been under-represented to date. Through partnering in specific educational, meeting and promotional activities, our two groups will help each other now and in the future.” – David Lewandowski, President of ISBER
“The Biobank and Cohort Building Network (BCNet) initiative at IARC arose from the realization that despite improvements in developed countries, population cohorts and biobanking facilities are either underdeveloped or non-existent in LMICs,” … “BCNet was set up by IARC and supported by founding partners, such as the NCI, the Karolinska Institutet and others, as an opportunity for LMICs to work together and jointly address the many challenges in biobanking infrastructure, including common technical standards and best practices harmonization.” – Dr Zisis Kozlakidis, BCNet Coordinator and Head of Biobanking and Laboratory Services at IARC