A biobank is an organized collection of biological samples and associated health information stored for research purposes.
Typical biological samples stored include tissue, body fluids (such as blood, serum, blood, urine, or fluids from punctures), cells and related derivatives (RNA, DNA, or proteins).
In Austria the large biobanks are located at medical universities. They represent disease-oriented biobanks as they collect samples and data within the context of clinical care. Biological materials found in such biobanks are collected from patients. They represent residual material of samples taken as part of an exploration or a clinical follow-up. Samples for clinical studies and diagnostic purposes have been collected throughout the history of medicine.
The purpose of Biobanks is to give researchers access to samples and data to support medical research and the development of new diagnostics, biomarkers and pharmaceutical treatments. Particularly in the era of personalized medicine these biologial resources are vital for medical innovations.
BBMRI.at aims to establish a state-of-the-art biobanking infrastructure in Austria and to increase close cooperation and harmonization between biobanks. These are prerequisites to facilitating access and fostering the use of biological samples and data for academic and industrial research. Biologic samples and data collected in biobanks are valuable resources for innovations in personalized medicine, and development of biomarkers, diagnostics and therapeutics.
The major goal of the subproject is to establish the IT infrastructure for a catalogue of Austrian biobanks and its interface to BBMRI-ERIC, the European integration of biobanking infrastructure. This involves the creation of a searchable catalogue of Austrian biobanks which also contains information about the IT infrastructure used in the biobanks, the data content and data format of the biobank information systems. Harmonization of very heterogeneous and rapidily evolving schemas is the major challenge of this area. In addition we will provide technical solution for protection of the privacy of donors of data and samples.
We will also establish an infrastructure for the exchange of experiences in IT management between Austrian biobanks and will set up a knowledge base for giving advice on IT issues to the partners of the network. This knowledge base will also consist of a collection of public domain (open source) software modules for the operation of information systems for biobanks and for exploitation of the data stored in biobank databases.
We develop an integrated quality management system integrating data and sample quality management where we explore novel representations of data quality issues including provenance of both samples and data.