Biobanks need a network-IT infrastructure to exchange data efficiently.

This allows to assort large multicentric collections of samples for research purposes.

Functional principle

The IT infrastructure of GBA consists of a federate network of so-called bridgeheads. These are data integration IT-modules installed at each biobank and filled with relevant data from the biobank (sample data) and from clinic systems (clinical data) on-site. Operated under the local authority of the sites, each biobank retains full control over their samples or data. To establish the network, each bridgehead connects with central services.


    • Terminology and vocabulary for the data elements that often vary broadly between the individual biobanks are entered into a metadata repository (Samply.MDR). This links them among each other as well as to established catalogues and standards. If necessary, suitable data harmonisation methods are employed.
    • This decentralised search (Samply.Share) enables researchers to identify the samples they require for their research via a central search interface and to send a general query to all participating biobanks. The bridgeheads established at those biobanks automatically evaluate the query and identify potentially suitable samples.
    • The resulting interaction between researchers and biobank(s) will be harmonised and supported by a project management tool across all biobanks: it documents the issuance of data and samples, accompanies the necessary internal coordination processes and creates a network-wide overview of the analyses conducted as well as resulting publications.
    • A patient portal will inform all donors about the use of their samples and data. Via these consistent processes within the network the use of samples can be influenced, for example, regarding the granting or revocation of informed patient consents.
    • These patient consents are subject to a consent management system integrated into each bridgehead to ensure that the donor’s intention is machine-readable and can consequently be considered in automatic processes.


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