The INFANT centre biobank houses biological samples which have been collected and stored over more than a decade of research. World-class database programmers, technicians and protocol designers have come together to prepare samples, transport and store these biological resources.
What is a biobank?
A biobank can be thought of as a freezer which runs at a very low temperature. It stores blood and tissue samples which are donated by patients to aid research. This secure, confidential and organised database helps our efforts to discover the causes of and possible treatments for conditions and diseases. In a biobank, with the permission of those who donate, we can store this information over a period of time which allows us to conduct long-term studies and achieve comprehensive results. Other information given by patients, such as height, weight, blood pressure and lifestyle choices, can be cross-referenced with these samples to form a broader picture for our researchers.
Our biobanks adhere to and exceed the requirements of the International Society for Biological and Environmental Repositories (ISBER) best practices. They also observe the Molecular Medicine Ireland Guidelines for Standardised Biobanking and OECD Guidelines for Human Biobanks and Genetic Research Databases. The protocols developed by INFANT are acknowledged internationally as the gold standard for biobanking and underpin our Metabolomics research programme. In August 2016, INFANT launched a new biobanking facility fully equipped to secure up to two million biological samples, positioning INFANT at the forefront of global biobanking.
This facility further enhances INFANT’s capacity for driving research, discovery, innovation and commercialisation, strengthening the centre’s status as a test-bed for industry research and development in perinatal medicine.
The new INFANT biobank expands capacity to between 2.5 and 4 million samples.
The INFANT centre benefits from its unique position to access patient samples and data for research by its clinical setting at the CUMH. The success of this model coupled with collaboration with other collection locations throughout the world had led to a burgeoning and rapidly expanding collection of samples relevant to mums and babies.
In the coming months, capacity will be expanded to between 2.5 and 4 million samples (dependent upon storage vial footprint).
- The biobank will surpass the existing international biobanking best practice guidelines and continue to contribute to international standards development (ISO TC 276). This will position INFANT, and Ireland, at the forefront of biobanking internationally. It will increase attractiveness for multi-institutional international collaborations and be a test-bed for research and development in perinatal medicine.
- The new progressive Biobank facility will enable INFANT to improve the curation and protection of precious human biological samples with a new, dual location model. INFANT’s dual-location-biobank-resource will be able to protect the samples and data by splitting these precious materials across sites to prevent catastrophic loss.
Without the support of the SFI Supplementary Award, it would not be possible to afford the continued reliability of long term cold storage. Without the purchase of new freezers to replace old stock and without the generous support of UCC, INFANT would not have the facility for these new Ultra low temperature freezers.