In Practice

Establishing an academic biobank in a resource-challenged environment

Cassandra Claire Soo, Freedom Mukomana, Scott Hazelhurst, Michele Ramsay

Abstract


Past practices of informal sample collections and spreadsheets for data and sample management fall short of best-practice models for biobanking, and are neither cost effective nor efficient to adequately serve the needs of large research studies. The biobank of the Sydney Brenner Institute for Molecular Bioscience serves as a bioresource for institutional, national and international research collaborations. It provides high-quality human biospecimens from African populations, secure data and sample curation and storage, as well as monitored sample handling and management processes, to promote both non-communicable and infectious-disease research. Best-practice guidelines have been adapted to align with a low-resource setting and have been instrumental in the development of a quality-management system, including standard operating procedures and a quality-control regimen. Here, we provide a summary of 10 important considerations for initiating and establishing an academic research biobank in a low-resource setting. These include addressing ethical, legal, technical, accreditation and/or certification concerns and financial sustainability.


Authors' affiliations

Cassandra Claire Soo, Sydney Brenner Institute for Molecular Bioscience, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Freedom Mukomana, Sydney Brenner Institute for Molecular Bioscience, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Scott Hazelhurst, Sydney Brenner Institute for Molecular Bioscience, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg; and School of Electrical and Information Engineering, Faculty of Engineering and the Built Environment, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

Michele Ramsay, Sydney Brenner Institute for Molecular Bioscience, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg; and Division of Human Genetics, School of Pathology, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of the Witwatersrand, Johannesburg, South Africa

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Keywords

Biobanking; Sample management; LIMS; Best practice; Biomedical research

Cite this article

South African Medical Journal 2017;107(6):486-492. DOI:10.7196/SAMJ.2017.v107i6.12099

Article History

Date submitted: 2017-05-24
Date published: 2017-05-24

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