An Introduction to Starting a Biobank

  • Mitra D. Harati
  • Ryan R. Williams
  • Masoud Movassaghi
  • Amin Hojat
  • Gregory M. Lucey
  • William H. YongEmail author
Part of the Methods in Molecular Biology book series (MIMB, volume 1897)


The purpose of a biobank is to process, organize, and maintain various types of biospecimens that are to be utilized for both clinical and research-based services. There are different types of biobanks, so the goals of the biobank should be delineated at the outset of forming a biobank. The startup of a biobank benefits from accreditation and stringent adherence to standards of practice. Fundamental to these practices is the protection of privacy and informed consent. A budget must be developed, and sources of funding should be obtained to properly equip the designated space and personnel. The appropriate space for freezers and for biospecimen processing should be identified. Information technology is also a critical part of the biobank and effort should be expended to ensure that this aspect is effective and secure. Given the ethical concerns surrounding biospecimens, engagement with the public is also highly valuable.

Key words

Biobank Biorepository Biospecimen Clinical Research Accreditation 



This work was supported in part by NIH:NCI P50-CA211015, NIH:NIMH U24 MH100929, the Art of the Brain Foundation, and the Henry E. Singleton Brain Cancer Research Program.


  1. 1.
    Shabihkhani M, Lucey GM, Wei B et al (2014) The procurement, storage, and quality assurance of frozen blood and tissue biospecimens in pathology, biorepository, and biobank settings. Clin Biochem 47(4–5):258–266CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. 2.
    Krishnamurthy S (2014) Biospecimen repositories and cytopathology. Cancer Cytopathol 123(3):152–161. Scholar
  3. 3.
    Vaught J, Lockhart NC (2012) The evolution of biobanking best practices. Clin Chim Acta 413(19–20):1569–1575. Scholar
  4. 4.
    Murphy J, Scott J, Kaufman D et al (2009) Public perspectives on informed consent for biobanking. Am J Public Health 99(12):2128–2134. Scholar
  5. 5.
    De Souza YG (2015) Sustainability of biobanks in the future. In: Karimi-Busheri F (ed) Biobanking in the 21st century, Advances in experimental medicine and biology, vol 864. Springer, Heidelberg, pp 29–35CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. 6.
    EuroBioBank (2003) Outstanding ethical and legal issues on biobanks: an overview on the regulations of member states of the EuroBioBank project. Accessed 29 Oct 2015
  7. 7.
    Biomedinvo4all: medical data and biobanks basics. Accessed 30 Nov 2015
  8. 8.
    Riegman PH, Morente MM, Betsou F et al (2008) Biobanking for better healthcare. Mol Oncol 2(3):213–222. Scholar
  9. 9.
    The Virtual of Genomics (2007) Population-based biobanks and genetics research in Connecticut. Accessed 13 Nov 2015
  10. 10.
    Asslaber M, Zatloukal K (2007) Biobanks: transnational, European and global networks. Brief Funct Genomic Proteomic 6(3):193–201. Scholar
  11. 11.
    ISBER (2012) Best practices for repositories: biopreservation and biobanking, 3rd edn.
  12. 12.
    Long-Mira E, Washetine K, Hofman P (2016) Sense and nonsense in the process of accreditation of a pathology laboratory. Virchows Arch 468(1):43–49. Scholar
  13. 13.
    Kang B, Park J, Cho S et al (2013) Current status, challenges, policies, and bioethics of biobanks. Genomics Inform 11(4):211–217. Scholar
  14. 14.
    Master Z, Campo-Engelstein L, Caulfield T (2014) Scientists’ perspectives on consent in the context of biobanking research. Eur J Hum Genet 23(5):569–574. Scholar
  15. 15.
    UCSF (no year listed) BioBanking at the University of California. Accessed 3 Nov 2015
  16. 16.
    Krawetz SA, Casson PR, Diamond MP et al (2011) Establishing a biologic specimens repository for reproductive clinical trials: technical aspects. Syst Biol Reprod Med 57(5):222–227. Scholar
  17. 17.
    Souza YG, Greenspan JS (2013) Biobanking past, present and future: responsibilities and benefits. AIDS 27(3):303–312. Scholar
  18. 18.
    Wolff AC, Hammond ME, Hicks DG et al (2014) Recommendations for human epidermal growth factor receptor 2 testing in breast cancer: American Society of Clinical Oncology/College of American pathologists clinical practice guideline update. Arch Pathol Lab Med 138(2):241–256. Scholar
  19. 19.
    Hewitt RE (2011) Biobanking: the foundation of personalized medicine. Curr Opin Oncol 23(1):112–119. Scholar
  20. 20.
    Canadian Tumor Repository Network (2011) Biobank certification: development of a program by Canadian Tumor Repository Network (CTRNet). Accessed 5 Dec 2015
  21. 21.
    The microbiology blog (2008) Material safety data sheets (MSDS) for infectious agents. Accessed 4 Dec 2015
  22. 22.
    Barbareschi M, Cotrupi S, Guarrera GM (2008) Biobanks instrumentation, personnel and cost analysis. Pathologica 100:144–148Google Scholar
  23. 23.
    Lean Laboratory Design—Case Study (2011) Leica biosystems. Accessed 21 Dec 2015
  24. 24.
    Lou JJ, Mirsadraei L, Sanchez DE et al (2014) A review of room temperature storage of biospecimen tissue and nucleic acids for anatomic pathology laboratories and biorepositories. Clin Biochem 47(4–5):267–273. Scholar
  25. 25.
    University of Texas: lab safety inspection checklist | Environmental Health and Safety (EHS). Accessed 3 Nov 2015
  26. 26.
    Tukacs E, Korotij A, Maros-Szabo Z et al (2012) Model requirements for Biobank Software Systems. Bioinformation 8(6):290–292. Scholar
  27. 27.
    Yong WH, Dry SM, Shabihkhani M (2014) A practical approach to clinical and research biobanking. Methods Mol Biol 1180:137–162. Scholar
  28. 28.
    About the NIH Common Fund. Accessed 28 Oct 2015
  29. 29.
    Gottweis H, Lauss G (2011) Biobank governance: heterogeneous modes of ordering and democratization. J Community Genet 3(2):61–72. Scholar
  30. 30.
    Grants process overview | Accessed 4 Nov 2015
  31. 31.
    Applicant eligibility | GRANTS.GOV. Accessed 29 Mar 2016
  32. 32.
    Apply for Grants | GRANTS.GOV. Accessed 29 Mar 2016

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mitra D. Harati
    • 1
  • Ryan R. Williams
    • 1
  • Masoud Movassaghi
    • 1
  • Amin Hojat
    • 1
  • Gregory M. Lucey
    • 1
  • William H. Yong
    • 1
    • 2
    • 3
    Email author
  1. 1.Division of Neuropathology, Department of Pathology and Laboratory MedicineDavid Geffen School of Medicine at UCLALos AngelesUSA
  2. 2.Brain Tumor Translational ResourceDavid Geffen School of Medicine at UCLALos AngelesUSA
  3. 3.Jonsson Comprehensive Cancer CenterDavid Geffen School of Medicine at UCLALos AngelesUSA

Personalised recommendations