Biobank Graz has been specifically designed to support the needs of biomedical research in the fields of human diseases, drug discovery and public health. Advanced modern biomedical research that aims at improved therapeutic and diagnostic methods and strategies eventually culminates in personalized medicine and requires an integrated infrastructure which links biobanks with the required IT-infrastructure, analysis platforms, systems biology and other biological resources.
Research projects focusing on specific aspects of a disease, greatly benefit from extensive tissue collections, like at Biobank Graz. Biomarkers and potential therapeutic targets discovered by comparative analysis of normal and diseased tissue can be studied in detail in corresponding animal models. The results of this research can then be validated in human tissue.
Modern concepts for the elucidation of disease processes necessarily rely on the wealth of information contained in diseased tissue and on a comparison with healthy specimens. Technologies such as gene expression analysis, proteomics and metabolomics directly fuel systems biology, which promises to understand the disease process at the organism level. Such efforts, which are presently still in their infancies, will however be futile if the demands for biological data cannot be met. Biobanks are in a unique position to meet these demands.
Biobanks play a key role in the development of new drugs and diagnostic tools by the pharmaceutical industry by providing knowledge of the molecular basis of disease. The trend towards personalized medicine and the increasingly global operation of companies will require biobanks to provide samples and data from populations of different ethnic origin – a task that can only reasonably be achieved by an international biobank network. These trends and developments have far-reaching social, ethical and political-legal implications that need to be considered to warrant smooth interaction between science and society on national and global levels.