Monday, March 30, 2009

You Can Take That to the Bank!

By Angelo Bouselli, Communications Manager, FasterCures

It’s one of the most-awaited magazine covers of the year: when Time magazine announces its so-called “Person of the Year.” Every December, the editors of Time devote an issue to the person who “most affected the news of our lives, for good or ill, and most embodied what is important about the year.”

The folks at Time, in keeping with their long-held tradition of list-making, recently compiled a list of “10 Ideas Changing the World Right Now.” Coming in at number 8 – the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and its efforts to establish the United States’ first national biobank.

With the global economy being reshaped before our eyes, Time Magazine highlights “10 Ideas Changing the World Right Now.” At number eight on the Magazine’s list… Biobanks! Time devotes this slot to the scientists at NCI who are heading up an effort to establish the United States first national biobank.

Established in 2005, the mission of NCI’s Office of Biorepositories and Biospecimen Research (OBBR) is to “guide, coordinate, and develop NCI’s biospecimen resources and capabilities and ensure that human biospecimens available for cancer research are of the highest quality.” The NCI biobank will be a safe house for tissue samples, tumor cells, DNA, and blood, which will be used to for research into new treatments for diseases. OBBR hopes to have mapped out a plan for a national biobank by fall 2009, but the recent stimulus could accelerate that timetable.

The OBBR biobank is an organic bank account, in which biomaterial deposits earn interest in the form of knowledge and therapies. There’s no monetary reward -- just the potential that you might benefit from the accumulated data at some later date. This knowledge is the very reason FasterCures launched BioBank Central in 2006. Biobank Central is a Web based portal to connect researchers to resources, encourage the donation of specimens, and educate the public about the benefits of research on banked biospecimens. It also serves as a timely source of news and information about biorepositories and their role in medical research and development.

In 2009, BioBank Central launched a new feature, Spotlight on Innovation highlighting individuals and organizations doing exceptionally innovative work in biobanking. Our first Spotlight focused on the Susan G. Komen for the Cure® Tissue Bank at the Indiana University Simon Cancer Center. This bank’s mission is to collect samples of normal, healthy breast tissue and other biospecimens from healthy women, providing a baseline for breast cancer research. Biobanks are changing the world – one cell at a time.

For more information on biobanks visit BioBank Central.

1 comment:

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