Biorepositories 101 and the Cure for Cancer
Posted 24th October 2018 by Jane Williams
An Introduction to Biorepositories
Biorepositories play a huge role in cancer research and they maintain the collection of biomaterials that cover disease targets, such as oncology, dermatology, neurology, immunology, infectious diseases, autoimmune and metabolic disorders.
Establishing a biorepository is no easy task and cannot be achieved by just any group of medical experts. It requires multiple parties and a variety of assets, including:
- The purchase and preparation of high-quality equipment necessary for tissue sample collection and storage
- A strict adherence to specimen processing protocols
- Ensuring accurate specimen storage conditions are met
- Maintaining the anonymity of participants
- Consent from participants
There are also plenty of operational requirements that need to be considered prior to establishing a biorepository. The correct collection, processing and storage of specimens is crucial and requires strict adherence to supply chain management and the system of biosafety and bioinformatics. Furthermore, funding needs to be consistent and monitored. The more premier biorepositories we have working towards the same goal, the better our chances of saving lives will be.
Biorepositories and Cancer Research
Biorepositories play a significant role within cancer research and, as result, new cancer therapies are being discovered and tested all the time. The presence of biorepositories guides these efforts. Researchers have discovered various ways to identify genes and their individual roles in the progression and origins of many diseases. Biorepositories have helped scientists make a variety of discoveries, such as, but not limited to:
- The analysis of a vast amount of clinical data pertaining to a patient’s health and their disease(s)
- Identifying and validating new effective methods for drug delivery
- Monitoring the progression of diseases
- Determining how different population groups respond to different types of drug therapy.
There are many examples of the successful use of biospecimens in the acceleration of cancer research. For instance, high-quality, well-preserved specimens were used to develop a drug called Trastuzumab. This drug has been used for the treatment of a form of genetically linked breast cancer. It was also used to develop a drug known as Gleevac, which was developed for chronic lymphocytic leukemia, which was also found to be successful in the treatment of gastrointestinal stromal tumours.
The Future of Biorepositories
As more biorepositories are established, an increase for institutional collaboration is required, so to continue the building of national databases. The need for centralisation, locally and nationally, of these vastly large databases is very important for the progress of cancer research. New next-generation biorepositories are being developed worldwide to aid the medical community, but ethical issues in the space remain prevalent. These include:
- Privacy and custodianship
- Institutional review
- Informed consent
- Data stewardship
Extreme measures and innovative approaches are now required for data security and research oversight. Alternative methods to obtaining consent will enable an ongoing involvement of participants if ways of re-contacting participants are developed. Data stewardship should be observed while institutions should be mandated to adopt research governance mechanisms. A centralised Institutional Review Board approval is also required to ensure the consistency and expedited access to samples. Institutions are required to protect their participants and to establish a way to maintain, monitor, and use donated samples in the most efficient way.
Evaluating the Success of Biorepositories
If the biorepository can provide high-quality biospecimens while meeting institutional guidelines on legal, operational, and ethical matters, a biorepository can be considered successful. However, it’s important that biorepositories and their procedures are continually evaluated, this can be achieved through:
- Examining the number of users
- Determining the number of publications that cite the biorepository
- Examining the dollar volume of the business
- Looking at user satisfaction surveys
- Analysing the overall results of research and operations that stem from biorepositories
Opportunities are offered to researchers to expand the treatment and management of cancers via personalised medicine. Biorepositories are changing how clinicians and physicians think about cancer and delivery of treatment to patients. Instead of focusing on getting the diagnosis right, researchers are now also looking to further characterise the tumour specifically, so treatments can be tailored to specific patients.
Although establishing and managing biorepositories comes with its many challenges, they play a significant and crucial role in the field of biomedical research, especially in cancer research.
Geneticist Inc. is a next-generation biorepository based in Los Angeles. We collect biomaterial from verticals such as Dermatology, Oncology, Immunology, & Infectious Diseases. To stay up to date on Geneticist Inc.’s progress connect with us on LinkedIn.
For more information on our events, please visit our website.
Leave a Reply