The tissue bank of the National Center for Tumor Diseases (NCT) Heidelberg, together with the tissue bank of the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF), has achieved accreditation for the first time in Germany according to a new standard created specifically for biobanks. The accreditation proves the high performance of the biobanks, which meet the requirements of excellent research. The process was accompanied by the German Accreditation Body (DAkkS) and the German Biobank Node (GBN).
A new, specific standard for the accreditation of biobanks has been available in Germany since 2020. The tissue bank of the NCT Heidelberg was the first biobank to be accredited according to this new DIN EN ISO 20387:2020. Together with the NCT Tissue Bank, the affiliated lung biobank of the Thorax Clinic Heidelberg at the Heidelberg University Hospital (UKHD) and the tissue bank of the German Center for Infection Research (DZIF) have also achieved accreditation. Successful accreditation to the demanding standard proves that the biobank meets strict standards and ensures a high level of quality control and assurance.
Alexander Brobeil heads the NCT tissue bank. He says: “The accreditation according to the new biobank standard is another important milestone for us. It shows that we work according to the highest quality standards and continuously improve our offer. We’ve provided evidence that researchers can count on the quality of our samples and data.”
The NCT tissue bank collects, characterizes, processes and stores human tissue samples and other biosamples from cancer patients. The institution thus supports around 200 projects from basic research and translational research every year. Stefan Fröhling, Managing Director at the NCT Heidelberg and Head of the Department of Translational Medical Oncology at the German Cancer Research Center (DKFZ), says: “We want the NCT tissue bank to meet the high demands of excellent research. Their specific accreditation, which has now been granted for the first time in Germany, shows it that the NCT tissue bank fulfills this requirement excellently.”
The accreditation program for the new biobank standard was developed by the DAkkS in close cooperation with the GBN. For the NCT Tissue Bank, the accreditation process began in 2018, before the new standard came into force. The employees first determined which additional requirements the new standard places in comparison to DIN EN ISO/IEC 17020, according to which the NCT tissue bank was previously accredited. The team then implemented the identified requirements, which included a user satisfaction survey. Carolin Kaufhold-Wedel, Quality Manager at NCT Tissue Bank, says: “The accreditation was a demanding task. The team accepted the challenge and did a great job.”
After a preparatory Friendly Audit by the GBN, the tissue banks were assessed by DAkkS last winter and were presented with the accreditation certificate in April 2023 as the first biobanks in Germany. Cornelia Specht, Managing Director of GBN, says: “We congratulate the NCT Tissue Bank and the DZIF Tissue Bank on their accreditation according to DIN EN ISO 20387. We are very pleased to have supported their efforts, especially with the Friendly Audits, and will continue to stand by all those seeking accreditation.”