The German Biobank Alliance (GBA) welcomes three new partner biobanks: 18 biobank sites and two IT development centres are now working together within the German alliance of academic biobanks. The aim of the alliance is to provide cross-location collections of human biosamples for medical research and thus accelerate the development of new treatments. To this end, the participating biobanks are establishing common quality standards as well as a networked IT infrastructure.
New alliance partners in Dresden, Freiburg and Tübingen
Under the leadership of the German Biobank Node (GBN), the GBA was founded in 2017 with eleven biobank sites and two IT centres. Four other biobanks joined in May 2019, now the BioBank Dresden, the FREEZE-Biobank Freiburg and the Central Biobank of the Comprehensive Cancer Center Tübingen-Stuttgart have also become alliance partners. With their collections, the three biobanks will expand the alliance's joint sample pool, which scientists will in future be able to search for specific parameters using the comprehensive IT infrastructure and thus find suitable samples for their research. The biobanks underwent an application process before being accepted into the alliance.
Towards achieving more reliable research results
The GBA establishes uniform quality standards for academic biobanks in Germany and interconnects them via a common IT structure. Prof. Dr. Michael Hummel, GBN coordinator, comments: “Measures such as comprehensive quality tests and further education programmes improve sample processing for all alliance partners and facilitate their standardisation. In this way, we aim to make research results even more reliable.”
Biobanks as an important foundation of precision medicine
Precision medicine uses data from genetic or molecular research to find the right therapy for a patient at the right time. Biobanks collect, process and store human body substances such as blood or tissue, which are necessary for this type of research. “Biobanks are an important prerequisite for precision medicine. They provide the sample material that doctors and scientists need in order to develop new targeted treatments,” explains Dr. Alexandra Nieters, head of the FREEZE-Biobank in Freiburg and new partner of the biobank alliance.
Applying to become a GBA partner biobank
A further application round is planned for early 2020. GBA partner biobanks can participate in ring trials and internal “friendly” audits. They are moreover connected to the decentralised online search, which enables comprehensive searches for biosamples and related data. Alliance members benefit from the exchange between partners during internal workshops and training as well as from the strong representation of their interests within the alliance. Commercial biobanks will not be admitted to GBA.