Thinking Big At The ISBER 2018 Biobanking Meeting

Conference. Source: Crystal710, no changes made, CC0 Creative Commons.
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The International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER) mission is to create opportunities for networking, education, and innovations for the global biobanking community. It actively harmonizes approaches to the challenges of biological and environmental repositories. The organisation hosted its annual meeting in Dallas Texas last week as part of its vision to be the leading global biobanking forum for promoting harmonized high-quality standards, education, ethical principles, and innovation in the science and management of biorepositories.

The first day featured symposia including longitudinal biospecimen profiling and the development of predictive biomarkers for therapy. MD Anderson’s involvement in immunotherapy was also touched upon. The research at 23&Me was introduced and the applications of smartphones in biobanking including consent in app-mediated research was discussed. It was a day of diverse topics with giant Panda conservation in China, also on the agenda.

The second day got down to business with talks on advances in biospecimen preservation science and analytics. Private or commercial biobanking was also discussed with strategic global approaches to sustainability in pharmaceutical, biotechnology and other biobanks that are operated on very tight budgets. ISBER best practices were discussed.

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The third day focused on the lessons learned from ISBER Biospecimen Science Research Symposium that took place in February 2018 in Luxembourg, Europe. The third day also featured the ISBER business meeting that highlighted the achievements within the organisation over the preceding year.

The final day examined quality management and how it leads to better results. ISBER best practice harmonization was also discussed as well as how to best establish and maintain collaborations with biobanks in order to make best use of the available samples. A special topic session focused on the use of omics approaches to maximise data acquisition particularly useful for data intensive discovery approaches that utilise machine learning.

The meeting brought together key stake holders from academia, industry, sponsors and non-profits, which is sure to have forged new collaborations and inspired innovations for the year ahead.