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Study on the usage of biobanks published

What would convince you to have biospecimens for your research project processed in a biobank, to store them there or to obtain them from a biobank? For what reasons have you decided against using the services of a biobank in the past? In an anonymous online survey, the German Biobank Node (GBN) asked such questions of ”potential biobank users” – researchers who work with human biospecimens. The quantitative survey was conducted from December 2018 to May 2019 at ten German Biobank Alliance (GBA) sites, with 354 academic staff from the medical faculties taking part. The results have now been published in the European Journal of Human Genetics entitled “Stakeholder engagement to ensure the sustainability of biobanks: a survey of potential users of biobank services“.

The study provides insights into the perspectives of researchers – a prerequisite for adapting the offers and services of biobanks to their expectations and needs and thus ultimately increasing the utilisation rates of biobanks. First author Dr. Corinna Klingler and her co-authors found that only a minority of researchers (12%) obtained their biospecimens from biobanks. Of the respondents who had not worked with biobanks, about half were not aware of the services offered by the respective local biobank. A central conclusion is therefore that the external communication and public relations work of biobanks should be improved. Biobanks may also need to adapt their collection strategies.

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