EuroBioBank 2011 meeting

EuroBioBank 2011 meeting

The 9th EuroBioBank (EBB) Network Annual Meeting, organised by the European Organisation for Rare Diseases (EURORDIS) in Paris on 8-9 September 2011, was attended by 20 participants representing most member biobanks.

EuroBioBank, the European network of DNA, Cell and Tissue Banks for Research on Rare Diseases, was established in 2001 and has been coordinated by EURORDIS since its inception, with continued EU funding through the TREAT-NMD grant since 2007. It is a unique network currently composed of 16 biobanks from 8 EU countries, with a focus on neuromuscular research. Its objective is to increase availability, facilitate access to and use of quality human biomaterials for research on rare and neuromuscular diseases.

The question of the future of the network was at the heart of the agenda of this annual meeting, following EURORDIS’s decision to discontinue the administrative coordination of EuroBioBank. The Fondazione Telethon Italy expressed an interest in taking over this responsibility since five biobanks of EuroBioBank are also members of the Italian Telethon Network of Genetic biobanks (TGBN). This offer was unanimously accepted by the member biobanks through an open vote. The Italian Telethon is indeed the ideal collaborator given its extensive experience as manager of the TGBN, whilst the scientific coordination will remain under the responsibility of Prof. Hanns Lochmüller of Newcastle University.

As this was also the last annual meeting held under the TREAT-NMD EU funding, the future sustainability of the network was also discussed, in particular the participation of EuroBioBank in a new  European application for a project called RD-Connect under the FP7 Call HEALTH.2012.2.1.1-1-C (databases, biobanks and 'clinical bio-informatics' hub for rare diseases).

The general consensus in biobanking policies being towards certification for biobanks - or networks of biobanks - the issue of Quality Control was again on the agenda, this time to envisage certification for the EuroBioBank network. The certification process implies examining the quality of the whole management system in place in order to meet the requirements of ISO or country-specific norms. A tutorial guided the biobankers through a list of such requirements and questions were answered.

Other items on the agenda included a discussion on setting harmonized fees for the EBB biobanking services following recent commercial requests for samples, as well as on interesting opportunities for collaboration with US biobanking initiatives (NIGMS, Coriell, RD-HUB, NIH).

Finally, this annual meeting will also be remembered as the last network meeting organised by EURORDIS at Plateforme Maladies Rares in Paris. However, with its outstanding assets and achievements, as well as new strengths gained during the TREAT-NMD project period and support of the scientific community, EuroBioBank is expected to make strides towards a bright future.

Visit the EuroBioBank website.

12 Apr 2017