Medical and health research have evolved very quickly in the last decades based on path-breaking advances and discoveries in genomics and molecular biology. Those developments have been proved especially useful in the prevention, diagnose and treatment of complex diseases that arise from a vast array of interacting effects. In this context, human samples such as blood, tissues, cells, DNA and other body fluids are the basic materials that researchers study to uncover the molecular and environmental factors that underlie disease.
Understanding those interactions will depend critically on the study of large sets of samples linked with accurate and up-to-date clinical, biological and molecular information. Europe is without a doubt in a very advantageous position to play a global leading role due to the existence of a long tradition of excellent health systems that have vast collections of samples and data. However, while these important collections already exist in hospital archives, biobanks (biobanks.eu), and biological resources centres across the EU member states, there is little collaboration and exchange between them. This fragmentation and the limited access by investigators are the main bottleneck impeding progress to the benefit of medical research, European health care, and ultimately, the citizens of the European Union.
This seminar will discuss the importance and the future plans to develop a pan-European Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure (BBMRI). Members of the main European research centres and institutes, universities, industry and government representatives will participate in the session to determine the necessary steps to set up an unprecedented network that will enable researchers to interact better, to access larger collections of biological samples and data, and thus to translate already existing potentials into new opportunities. Some of the urgent actions in the agenda are the preparation of an inventory of existing resources, the search for common standards and access rules, the establishment of a data protection system and the definition of the legal, ethical, social and financial governance framework for this initiative.
The planning consortium compromises 51 participants from 21 member states and more than 150 associated organizations. The successful implementation of a pan-European BBMRI will result into increased quality and reduced costs of research, more effective drug discoveries, improved health care and secure industrial competitiveness for the EU.
For more information contact:
Arne Koeppel, ISC Intelligence in Science
T: +32(0)2 8888 107 - E: arne.koeppel[.]iscintelligence.com.