Just a few weeks ago, EATRIS-ERIC (the European Infrastucture for Translational Medicine) and BBMRI-ERIC (the Biobanking and BioMolecular Resources Research Infrastructure) formalized their collaboration so they could advance the development of biobanking and translational research infrastructures and improve the quality and access to biobanking and biomarker development resources and expertise throughout Europe.
Implemented under the ERIC (European Research Infrastructure Consortium) legal entity, EATRIS-ERIC and BBMRI-ERIC connect patients and populations of European countries with top-level biological and medical research. The press release summed up the rationale behind this new collaboration quite nicely:
“By combining the significant resources and expertise residing in these two permanent international infrastructures, Europe is better positioned to tackle the significant challenges of innovation in the age of personalized medicine.”
It’s the kind of cooperation we need to see more often.
As Jim Vaught, Marianna Bledsoe and Peter Watson mention in their recent note at Biopreservation and Biobanking, the biobanking landscape is changing quickly. Biobanks now exist on every continent, and the field continues to expand. Clearly, the bright future of genomics research depends on collaboration –but for collaboration to be successful, biobanks will need even more standardization.
From Vaught, Bledsoe and Watson:
“. . . many now appreciate that biobanking, like other research tools, is a fundamental platform that needs to be standardized to the extent possible to allow datasets to be combined and research based on them to be replicated. So perhaps there needs to be a renewed effort among the various leading organizations in the biobanking world to compile resources and make these available to assist emerging biobanks in making their start-up more efficient and to promote greater standardization. This will require more widespread sharing of information and procedures across international borders.”
Standardization is just one of multiple challenges that could potentially stand in the way of bioresource sharing. However, as we discussed in an earlier blog post, now that biorepositories are critical to modern medical research, it’s time to enhance collaboration between medical researchers and biobankers –and between biobanks themselves. Cooperation has always been essential to good research, and as the field of biobanking expands across international borders, establishing standard protocols to share information and procedures will become increasingly important.