Biobanks or biorepositories refer to collections of specimens of human body substances (e.g., tissue, cells, DNA, proteins, blood or other body fluids) that typically are linked or can be linked to data and information about their donors.
Specimens are normally collected for a biobank in the following ways:
- Material remaining from a routine measure in the context of patient care (blood drawn for diagnostic purposes, material removed during an operation, etc.)
- Specimen material obtained explicitly for research purposes as part of a study/collection approved by the Ethics Committee
- Additional specimen material removed during a routine measure (an additional blood tube)
An initial statement of informed consent to removal and storage of specimens in the biobank (especially in the cases in points 2 and 3) must be obtained in writing from the donor. A specific research purpose is not defined in the Biobank Graz Informed Consent form ("broad consent") since often a specific question has not been formulated at the time of donation. Before specimen material is released, a positive decision must be made by the Med Uni Graz Ethics Committee.