The Importance of Biobanking in Modern Medical Research

Biobanking is a term that refers to the practice of collecting human and animal biological samples-including blood, urine, bone marrow, saliva, spinal fluid, and tissue for research purposes in order to further our understanding of health and disease. A biobank serves as a biorepository, collecting, processing, storing, and supplying specimens and data for research and clinical investigations.1

The discipline of biobanking has evolved significantly over the previous three decades, beginning with a small university-based repository established for the sake of specific studies. Biobanking has developed from basic biological sample storage to sophisticated and dynamic entities that are part of larger infrastructure networks, such as the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER), Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure (BBMRI),  and Pan-European Biobanking.2

Nowadays, in medicine, we are entering a new age as patients, health providers, and academic intelligentsia are increasingly cooperate to advance knowledge and test novel paradigms for detecting and treating disease. Biobanking, or the preservation of biospecimens, is gaining importance in the field of biomedical research.3 Numerous biobanks have been established across the world to assist contemporary medical research areas such as personalized medicine. Researchers are continuously on the lookout for new techniques to detect the origin of a disease and provide more personalized treatment options.

Numerous large-scale biobanking initiatives are now ongoing on a national, international and institutional scale. When combined with a questionnaire and medical record data, biobanks provide invaluable resources for researching complex diseases, including cardiovascular disease, cancer, and diabetes. Biobanks have become vital to improving the objective of increasing population health by making medicine more effective and customized for each of us.4 We all play a crucial role from donating biospecimens to obtaining authorization for the processing of biospecimens and data collection.

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Biobanks are very important entities and have many advantages. Each year, an incalculable number of lives are saved by funding the infrastructure that enables researchers and scientists to investigate and eradicate the disease. Consider what the world would be like today if polio, smallpox, or malaria became widespread everywhere. It is not an attractive image. While many life-threatening diseases have been eradicated or significantly reduced in developed nations, the same cannot be said for the rest of the globe.5

Biobanks are a major resource in the modern world for proteomics, genomics, and metabolomics research, translational studies, molecular epidemiology, therapeutic target creation, and biomarker and drug finding.6 Therefore, it is no surprise that both academic and industry researchers have shown a growing interest in biobanking in recent years.

Though the science of oncology has made tremendous strides over the last decade, cancer continues to be one of the leading causes of death and morbidity globally. Biobanks are a key component of personalized medicine built on the three pillars of cancer research: proteomics, metabolomics, and epigenomics. Intense development in cancer research has benefited from the diagnostic, prognostic, and therapeutic aspects. Biobanks aided in the identification of biomarkers and future pharmaceutical treatment.

Cancer biobanks are sophisticated systems that store cancer samples and associated data in a systematic and planned manner. It has been widely used for cancer prevention, detection, diagnosis, and treatment on a worldwide scale and has evolved into an important element of personalized medicine. Biobanks will undoubtedly revolutionize research, advancing genetic studies and identifying future drug targets.7

Like cancer, cardiovascular disorders (CVD) remain the primary cause of death and morbidity in both children and adults. In recent years, developments in cardiology research have allowed several possible proteins or even genetic biomarkers to be discovered. Biobanks provide a significant resource for cardiovascular research to explain and enhance CVD disorders diagnosis, prognosis, and therapy.8

In a pandemic, Biobanks are also playing a vital role in combatting Covid-19 because these biobanks are enabling researchers to get samples required for research to study the coronavirus and vaccine development.9

Biobanking is anticipated to transform the globe and quickly establish itself as a crucial element of research infrastructure development. The aim is that increasing investments will allow scientific advancements that will significantly impact a nation’s economy through impacting our understanding of human health, illness, medicines, and customized treatment.

Biobanking is now expanding its activities from small operations to complex enterprises. Automation and computerization of procedures have changed the administration of these biobanks. Specimens may now be stored electronically in a database. With adequate funds, biobanks may now engage in robots to accelerate the processing and sampling procedure.10

Similarly, biobanks appear to be paving the way for personalized medicine among the scientific community worldwide. Biobanking is like a microscope that allows us to see how the several risk factors act together to cause any disease. However, several technological, social, ethical, and legal concerns must be overcome for this path to be productive. Overcoming these obstacles is essential to the growth of biobanks and the progress of medical research in the twenty-first century.11

 

References

  1. De Souza, Y. G., & Greenspan, J. S. (2013). Biobanking past, present and future: responsibilities and benefits. AIDS (London, England)27(3), 303.
  2. Artene, S. A., Ciurea, M. E., Purcaru, S. O., Tache, D. E., Tataranu, L. G., Lupu, M., & Dricu, A. (2013). Biobanking in a constantly developing medical world. The Scientific World Journal2013.
  3. Coppola, L., Cianflone, A., Grimaldi, A. M., Incoronato, M., Bevilacqua, P., Messina, F., & Salvatore, M. (2019). Biobanking in health care: evolution and future directions. Journal of translational medicine17(1), 1-18.
  4. Riegman, P. H., Morente, M. M., Betsou, F., De Blasio, P., & Geary, P. (2008). Biobanking for better healthcare. Molecular oncology2(3), 213-222.
  5. Vaught, J., & Lockhart, N. C. (2012). The evolution of biobanking best practices. Clinica chimica acta413(19-20), 1569-1575.
  6. Malsagova, K., Kopylov, A., Stepanov, A., Butkova, T., Sinitsyna, A., Izotov, A., & Kaysheva, A. (2020). Biobanks—A Platform for Scientific and Biomedical Research. Diagnostics10(7), 485.
  7. Matzke, L. A., & Watson, P. H. (2020). Biobanking for cancer biomarker research: issues and solutions. Biomarker Insights15, 1177271920965522.
  8. Small, A. M., O’Donnell, C. J., & Damrauer, S. M. (2018). Large-Scale genomic biobanks and cardiovascular disease. Current cardiology reports20(4), 1-9.
  9. Rovere-Querini, P., Tresoldi, C., Conte, C., Ruggeri, A., Ghezzi, S., De Lorenzo, R., & Ciceri, F. (2020). Biobanking for COVID-19 research. Panminerva med.
  10. Hainaut, P., Vaught, J., Zatloukal, K., & Pasterk, M. (2017). Biobanking of Human Biospecimens. Cham: Springer International Publishing.
  11. Caenazzo, L., & Tozzo, P. (2020). The Future of Biobanking: What Is Next?. BioTech9(4), 23.
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