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Last Updated: 07/28/14

Future of Biorepositories

It is now well known that biorepositories are a key resource for large-scale genomic- and proteomic-based research into cancer. Researchers need access to large numbers of high- quality biospecimens that are “annotated” (accompanied by relevant clinical information). The quality of a specimen is determined not only by the physical integrity of the biomolecules within it but by the quality of the specimen-associated information and the ethical, legal and policy parameters that determine the use of the specimen in research.

Due to the need for high quality samples and the use of appropriate sampling procedures for every aspect of the collection and dissemination process, biorepository operations have become highly complex. As a result, the biorepository community is increasingly focused on standardization and harmonization of technical and operational practices, as well as ethical, legal and policy issues.

In recent years, NCI has sought to address these needs by assessing the current landscape of institute-sponsored biorepositories across the United States, and on an international basis. NCI also collaborated on the development of a biorepository network model for the cancer community, called the National Biospecimen Network (NBN) Blueprint (PDF Document: 7.06 MB).