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Biobanks will provide 'electronic specimens' for medical research
Date:2/12/2009

laboratory processes and expertise, although Orfao emphasised this was for the future. "A challenge for the future will be to provide access to enough data and information about large series of individuals so that further research could be linked to data stored in electronic resources," said Orfao. "However, this is still far from current practice, and it is still crucial that specimens be stored to facilitate the generation of additional data."

Creating electronic biobanks will itself involve a great effort and take time. Meanwhile the biobank community faces a daunting enough challenge just providing sufficiently diverse and large specimen sample collections to feed current research as well as provide the raw material for creation of the electronic biobanks of the future. "Current research projects studying human diversity and evolution, as well as the genetic/genomic factors underlying complex, multi-factorial human diseases, require the availability and use of thousands of biological samples, together with associated epidemiological, genealogical, lifestyle and/or clinical data," said Orfao. "Biobanks have been created with the aim of providing scientists with large collections of high quality biological samples."

The ESF conference highlighted the substantial progress already made creating biobanks that now serve a variety of research projects all over Europe. "Some of the most significant achievements of biobanks include the promotion and driving forward of research on drug development, treatment of complex, multi-factorial diseases and personalized medicine, shortening the time-frame required to develop such large scale projects, and providing a higher standard of quality," said Orfao. "As such, this has also been the impact of the Spanish National DNA Bank, which is currently supporting several major disease-oriented research projects."

The ESF conference also identified the innovative technologies that will be exploiting samples f
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Contact: Alberto Orfao
orfao@usal.es
34-923-294-833
European Science Foundation
Source:Eurekalert

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