There are numerous standalone biobanks in Ireland and in other countries. Historically, such biobanks have not been well resourced, and vary greatly in tissue collection, quality control, sample storage, patient consent procedures and informatics. In most cases, there is insufficient material for sharing or for large translational studies.
Molecular research requires large scale sample collections, and Ireland’s research community is relatively small. For mutual benefit and to ensure a co-ordinated biobanking approach, it is very important that a new Biobank Network include and resource those biobanks that are willing to adopt international guidelines and procedures.
The pioneering Biobank Network is the Spanish National Tumor Bank Network (62 hospitals and institutions), under the direction of molecular pathologist, Dr Manuel Morente (visit). The Wales Cancer Bank (visit) is generally similar on a smaller scale (9 hospitals). Biobank Networks or coordinated biobanking has been developed in Singapore, Japan, Korea, Australia, USA, Canada, Wales, France, Spain, Portugal, Italy, Norway, Sweden, Germany, Belgium, The Netherlands, Ecuador, Brazil, Colombia, Mexico, China, Brazil, Austria, Russia and New Zealand. In the United States, biobanking is an important platform for the Precision Medicine Initiative announced by President Barack Obama in January 2015.