The history of biobanking in Austria has a long tradition and is based on a royal decree from 1811 that remitted medical doctors to collect pathological specimens. After several decades of collecting samples at various departments separately, in 2007 Biobank Graz became an institutional and central research infrastructure of Medical University of Graz, Austria. Today Biobank Graz is a publicly owned, non-profit organisation and supported by public funding (Austrian Government, bmwfw: Konjunkturpaket 2; local Styrian Government: Zukunftsfond).
Biobank Graz is directly located at the University Hospital Graz (LKH Univ. Klinikum Graz). Diagnostic and therapeutic interventions to more than 400,000 outpatients and 85,000 inpatients per year designate the University Hospital Graz as one of the largest university hospitals in Central Europe. The high number of patients arises from the large catchment area (1.2 million inhabitants) and the relatively low pre-selection in the extramural sector. Combined the high patient number and the established top quality medical care as well as the intensive research activities of Medical University of Graz, makes the University Hospital Graz the ideal partner and provides ideal conditions for the establishment of a biobank.
Biobank Graz builds on many years of preparatory work and on existing sample collections from research projects of various clinics and institutes. In 2007 the Rectorate of the Medical University of Graz took account for the need of sustainable financing and institutional stability of Biobank Graz. The development of Biobank Graz was set up as a key project in the area of research infrastructure within the developmental plan of the university and Biobank Graz was anchored in the organization chart.
Today, Biobank Graz is one of the largest clinical biobanks in Europe housing more than 20 million human samples including blood, serum, plasma, buffy coat, fresh frozen tissues, formalin fixed paraffin embedded (FFPE) tissues as well as their associated clinical data.
As an international service provider Biobank Graz offers logistics and infrastructure and provides optimal support for research teams in collecting, processing, storing as well as providing human biological samples and associated data. Additionally, Biobank Graz offers analysis of requested biospecimens as a service for customers in cooperation with the Centre for Medical Research (ZMF) at Medical University of Graz.