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Knowledge Centre

What are Bio-specimens?
Bio-specimens are materials taken from the human body like tissue, buffy coat, plasma, oral swab and urine that can yield macromolecules for proteomics, genomics and other such studies on a later date. Once these samples have been properly processed and stored they are known as human Bio-specimens.

What are Biorepositories?
Biorepositories (or biobanks) are “libraries” where biospecimens are stored and made available to investigators for specific clinical and basic research purposes. These biospecimens are commonly annotated with information about the patient from whom the biospecimen was taken, including data about their medical conditions and background. However, one of the biorepository’s top priorities is to protect the privacy and sanctity of the donor’s personal and medical information.

Why have Biorepositories?
The bio-specimens are used for research directed at :

  • Finding targets to intervene in cancer treatment
  • Identifying molecular events in disease progression and heterogeneity
  • Separate patients as likely or not likely to respond to a specific drug
  • Group patients to determine which treatment is appropriate
  • Develop screening tests to diagnose, prognosticate, predict response and detect biomarkers that are associated with specific stages or sub-types of a disease

What is the future of Biorepositories?

Biorepositories are a key resource for large scale genomic and proteomic based  research into cancer. Researchers need access to large numbers of high quality bio-specimens that are “annotated” (accompanied by relevant  clinical information). The quality of a specimen is determined not only by the physical integrity of the biomolecules within it but by the quality of the specimen associated information and the ethical, legal and policy parameters that determine the use of the specimen in research.

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