New Trends in Biobanking Based on Main International Events in 2019

ISBER 2019 Annual Meeting, Shanghai
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What were the most attractive biobanking ideas in 2019?

ISBER (International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories) and ESBB (European, Middle Easter and African Society for Biopreservation and Biobanking) are the two biggest world leaders in the biobanking area. Every year organize annual meetings with the hottest topics and outline the future development in the whole wide range of biobanking issues. In 2019, ISBER held its Annual Meeting & Exhibits in May in Shanghai and ESBB along with BBMRI-ERIC held their annual event Europe Biobank Week in October in Lubeck.

Over the last two decades biobanks have multiplied across the world providing the materials with which research has advanced in the era of ‘-omics’ and precision medicine. That is why the outcomes of big biobanking meetings were expected with great hopes.

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Quality and Quality

Quality and standardisation are for several years’ topics with high relevance. For excellent research results and achievements samples and data of top quality are necessary. Regarding samples new and more modern approaches are introduced gradually in the daily practice like automatization of all possible processes, which means from collecting, transport, storage and sharing. To guarantee samples quality new storing methods are in the pipeline of development. Even bigger attention is currently paid to the data quality. Last decade is characterised by enormous rise in data. Data from different sources, of different quality, structured or unstructured. Biobanking has entered to the era of Big Data, that requires new IT tools, AI (artificial intelligence) approaches, machine learning and deep learning tools and algorithms. These aspects bring new, higher quality of biobanking data and contribute to the paradigm shift towards the data driven science. Well processed Big Data open new dimensions of collaborations between different biobanks in different regions, countries and worldwide. These data can be easier to handle thanks to modern technologies better visible and due to offered to the sharing. New data storage technologies like Cloud help to solve limited local storage capacities. New IT solutions as for instance SAMPLE/DATA NEGOTIATOR and LOCATOR, IT tools of the BBMRI-ERIC (The Biobanking and BioMolecular Resources Research Infrastructure – European Research Infrastructure Consortium) infrastructure enable quickly find the samples and data of required parameters (diagnosis, stage, age, sex, region, etc.). This new higher level of biobanking activities contribute the basic research, translational research and treatment of wide range of human diseases, like cancer, CVD (cardiovascular diseases), rare diseases, diabetes, neurodegenerative diseases, etc.

Ethical, Legal and Social Issues (ELSI)

In May 2018 EU GDPR (European Union General Data Protection Regulation) entered into the force in Europe. GDPR is a wide legal framework for the protection of personal data, with the objectives to protect individuals ´ rights, individuals ´ freedoms and facilitating the free flow of such data within the EU. GDPR imposes strict data protection requirements for the processing of “personal data” in countries in the European Economic Area (EEA) as well as restricted conditions for the transfer of data outside the EEA. Despite wide discussion during the GDPR preparation the introducing was not without problems. Especially the samples and data exchange with USA, Canada, China and Africa is still problematic and even worse is the situation with third countries. In addition, other emerging laws, regulations and policies that affect the use and transfer of biospecimens for research are under development or have been enacted in other countries. These new laws, regulations and policies may have a similar impact on global collaborations.

New Regions: Asia, Oceania and Australia

New very fast-growing regions in biobanking presented their accession to the world biobanking family. China and Africa are new “starts” mainly in human biobanks, whereas Asia as a region, Oceania and Australia are well established in the field of environmental diversity. Wildlife biobanking is comparing to human biobanks less distributed, but their importance for protecting and preservation samples especially of endangered species as animals, plants, and microorganisms, are sources for evolutionary studies and the possibilities for potential development of new treatments of human diseases, and new drug developments.  Environment and biodiversity are newly more in the centre of attention to identify environmental risk factors of human health and diseases. New phenomenon is opening biobanking to Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMIC) and help them at all aspects of biobanking.

Biobanking is For Everybody

Biobanks need to be closely connected with patients, academia, researchers, biomedical industry, lawyers, IT and AI specialists, educational institutions, that all are the elements of biobanking universe. Every partner has its own requirements, the tools how they communicate and collaborate. Today there are many media and especially social media, communication channels, and platforms, that open new ways to the final society, group of individuals, societies and associations to continuously inform them about the whole process of biobanking.

Hot Topics

Really hot topics in biobanking are currently paediatric biobanks, research of human gut microbiome and environment and living biobanks as next generation biobanks.



  4. Regulation (EU) 2016/679 of the European Parliament and of the Council of 27 April 2016 on the Protection of Natural Persons with Regard to the Processing of Personal Data and on the Free Movement of Such Data, and Repealing Directive 95/46/EC (General Data ProtectionRegulation). Available online:

Judita is an associate professor and the manager of international research cooperation and affairs at University Hospital in Pilsen and Charles University, Faculty of Medicine in Pilsen, Czech Republic. She is involved in biobank activities at the hospital integrated biobank in Pilsen. Her main areas of interest are personalized medicine, biobanking, biomarkers and international collaboration. She is a member of editorial board EMPA Journal (European Association for Preventive, Predictive and Personalized Medicine) for biobanks and repositories.