As many of you know from reading our blog and becoming familiar with our range of products and services, here at LABVANTAGE, we strongly believe that the biobanking sector will produce many important developments in the coming years for medical research. For this very reason, we have long since invested in the creation of our BioBanking Solution, capable of satisfying all the requirements of a computer system for storage and tracking of biological materials.

A few weeks ago, we dedicated an Italian blog to this very topic, publishing an interview with Ing. De Blasio from Biorep. From this expert’s point of view, we received a detailed explanation of the international legal and operational modalities, and we were offered his vision on upcoming developments. The Italian interview is available in two parts: Biobanks and clinical medical research: an interview with Ing. De Blasio (first part) and (second part). For those who do not speak Italian, a summary and highlights of the interview have been provided for you in the following passages.

When De Blasio was asked what the interactions are between biobanking organizations, he responded by stating that:

The field of biobanks is very complex and diversified, as it deals with the collection, treatment, storage, distribution, and computerization of high-quality biological material not only of human, animal and plant, but also from sources such as fossils and microbes. Therefore, the need to harmonize procedures at the international level and create unified standards is deeply felt.

De Blasio was asked about the most relevant entities that populate the world of biobanks in Italy. He responded by stating that: “In Italy, aside from BioRep, biobanks are all entities belonging to public facilities (hospitals, IRCCS, universities and research institutes). The most organized are those of the umbilical cord and those linked to blood transfusion or transplant.”

De Blasio also discussed biospecimen locators, the most widespread biobanks in Italy, and the most significant issues related to the management of biobanks. He explained how the collection and storage of umbilical cords in Italy is permitted only by authorized public facilities. “The ethical aspects are of paramount importance for banks of biological material.”

The important information gained from his interview was the grounds for our recently held workshop, in collaboration with the companies Bioskills and Biorep, entitled “Workshop on Biobanking Software.” The workshop was held in Milan, Italy on October 25, 2011.

In the course of the one day, about 40 International and Italian specialists in the biobanking sector demonstrated and shared their experiences in the development of software systems, ranging from pure biobank data management, to the transition from a home-made solution, to a commercial software (as in the case of Coriell Institute for Medical Research). In addition to this, there were several discusssions about biobanks prepared for specific sectors (such as forensic) or intended for more specific needs (such as the cord blood bank), as well as local laws and customs. Specific initiatives, such as the “Oncology Network of Lombardia,” provided contributions to the event as well.

The amount of open discussion was enough to convince us that the seminar was a great opportunity for all participants to share their experiences. It also promoted the increase of idea generation and initiatives in the world of biobanking. We do hope to have similar events again in the near future.

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