IARC Biobank Learning platform
The International Agency for Research on Cancer (IARC) has launched the Biobank Learning platform, a freely accessible resource that provides learning and training material for professionals involved in biobank-based research in low- and middle-income countries (LMICs).
The Biobank Learning platform includes more than 80 learning resources tailored to help specialists contribute to efficient and impactful analysis. Topics covered include biobanking infrastructure, collection and management of samples and data, and bioinformatics.
The only resource of its kind, the Biobank Learning platform was developed by the Education and Training Group and the Laboratory Services and Biobank Group at IARC as part of the Bridging Biobanking and Biomedical Research across Europe and Africa (B3Africa) project. It will be maintained and developed by IARC through the LMICs Biobank and Cohort Building Network (BCNet) initiative.
Biobank and Cohort Building Network (BCNet)
The Low- and Middle-Income Countries (LMICs) Biobank and Cohort Building Network (BCNet) initiative arose from the realization that despite improvements in developed countries, population cohorts and biobanking facilities are either underdeveloped or non-existent in LMICs. In this context and in line with IARC's mission to contribute to worldwide cancer research, BCNet was set up as an opportunity for LMICs to work together in a coordinated and effective manner and jointly address the many challenges in biobanking infrastructure, including ethical, legal, and social issues (ELSIs).
In addition, BCNet will facilitate the sharing of resources (e.g. expertise, protocols) and the development of joint projects, strengthening the competitiveness of LMIC biobanks in applying for international funding.
Bridging Biobanking and Biomedical Research across Europe and Africa (B3Africa)
B3Africa aims to implement a cooperation platform and technical informatics framework for biobank integration between Africa and Europe. The collaboration will harmonize the ethical and legal framework, biobank data representation and bioinformatics pipelines for sharing data and knowledge among biobanks and allowing access for researchers from both continents.
Main actors from the relevant initiatives include Human Heredity and Health in Africa project (H3Africa), European Biobanking and BioMolecular resources Research Infrastructure (BBMRI-ERIC) and LMIC Biobank and Cohort Building Network (BCNet).
Biobanking and BioMolecular resources Research Infrastructure &mdash European Research Infrastructure Consortium (BBMRI-ERIC)
BBMRI-ERIC is the largest research infrastructure project in Europe; it is EC-funded project and has 53 members and over 280 associated organisations (largely biobanks) from over 30 countries.
The main aim of BBMRI-ERIC is to serve as an interface between specimens and data (from patients and European populations) and top-level biological and medical research. The project is implemented under the ERIC (European Research Infrastructure Consortium) legal entity.
Public Population Project in Genomics (P3G)
The Public Population Project in Genomics is an international consortium for the development and management of a multidisciplinary infrastructure for comparing and merging results from population genomic studies. P3G will enable the international research community to deliver more effective health care strategies aimed at disease prevention, and at tailoring medicines and other treatment regimens to individuals, families and communities.
Dedicated to fostering collaboration between researchers and projects in the field of population genomics, P3G develops, in an open and transparent manner, research tools for effective collaboration between biobanks so as to enable the international research community to share expertise and resources and facilitate knowledge transfer for the health of populations.
Marble Arch Working Group on Human Specimen International Biobanking for Research
The Marble Arch Working Groups on International Biobanking was created in response to a growing need to harmonize approaches in regional and national Biobanks that address the critical issues in managing a modern human specimen Biobank. The participant funded Marble Arch group has proven to be an invaluable forum for the candid exchange of information, ideas and expertise.
International Society for Biological and Environmental Biorepositories (ISBER)
The primary goal of the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories, ISBER, is to provide information and guidance on the safe and effective management of specimen collections. ISBER was founded in 2000 as an educational forum for discussion of repository management and dissemination of information on operational issues. The society serves to pool and share collective knowledge and experiences with colleagues. This knowledge helps member repositories operate more efficiently in managing and preserving their collections. Careful management ensures the collections are available for study as new biomarkers emerge and more sensitive measurement technologies become pertinent.
The IBB is participating in the EurocanPlatform, a FP7 project aiming to develop infrastructure for European cancer translational research and to promote collaborative multi center projects. Several workpackages within the EurocanPlatform deal with biobank access and the appropriate guidelines and protocols for accessing clinical samples have been developed during the course of the project (2010-2014). The Eurocanplatform is coordinated by Pieter Riegman, ERASMUS, Rotterdam.