Building a 'Repository of Science': the importance of integrating Biobanks within molecular pathology programmes

Claire Lewis, Stephen McQuaid, Peter W. Hamilton, Manuel Salto-Tellez, Darragh McArt, Jacqueline A. James

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

22 Citations (Scopus)
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Repositories containing high quality human biospecimens linked with robust and relevant clinical and pathological information are required for the discovery and validation of biomarkers for disease diagnosis, progression and response to treatment. Current molecular based discovery projects using either low or high throughput technologies rely heavily on ready access to such sample collections. It is imperative that modern biobanks align with molecular diagnostic pathology practices not only to provide the type of samples needed for discovery projects but also to ensure requirements for ongoing sample collections and the future needs of researchers are adequately addressed. Biobanks within comprehensive molecular pathology programmes are perfectly positioned to offer more than just tumour derived biospecimens; for example, they have the ability to facilitate researchers gaining access to sample metadata such as digitised scans of tissue samples annotated prior to macrodissection for molecular diagnostics or pseudoanonymised clinical outcome data or research results retrieved from other users utilising the same or overlapping cohorts of samples. Furthermore, biobanks can work with molecular diagnostic laboratories to develop standardized methodologies for the acquisition and storage of samples required for new approaches to research such as ‘liquid biopsies’ which will ultimately feed into the test validations required in large prospective clinical studies in order to implement liquid biopsy approaches for routine clinical practice. We draw on our experience in Northern Ireland to discuss how this harmonised approach of biobanks working synergistically with molecular pathology programmes is key for the future success of precision medicine.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)191-199
JournalEuropean Journal of Cancer
Early online date24 Sep 2016
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016


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