The German Biobank Alliance (GBA) has four new partner biobanks: two years after its founding, a total of fifteen biobank locations and two IT development centres are now working together within the German alliance of academic biobanks. The partners are establishing uniform quality standards and developing a networked IT structure. The aim is to make biomaterials available for medical research across all locations and thus accelerate the development of new treatments.
New German Biobank Alliance partners in Berlin, Essen, Marburg and Regensburg
GBA was founded in 2017 with eleven biobank sites and two IT centres. It has now been expanded to include the Central Biomaterial Bank of the Charité Berlin (ZeBanC), West German Biobank Essen (WBE) of the Medical Faculty at the University Hospital Essen, Comprehensive BioBank Marburg (CBBMR), and Central Biobank Regensburg. The biobanks successfully completed an application procedure. “The four new partners are an asset to our alliance,” comments Managing Director Dr. Cornelia Specht. A further three biobanks have applied to join the alliance and are due to become members in August.
Biobanks as research infrastructures
In recent years, many biobanks have been transformed into highly professional, closely networked research infrastructures. “The German Biobank Alliance has been instrumental in this development,” says GBA coordinator Prof. Dr. Michael Hummel. “Networked biobanks that work to the most stringent quality standards ensure reliable research results. Which is why GBA is opening up to new partners so that a growing number of biobanks can benefit from the network, and researchers can access existing samples quickly and easily.”
Applying to become a 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.