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Conference paper - Peer-reviewed, 2016

Supporting the Development of Biobanks in Low and Medium Income Countries

Klingström, Tomas; Mendy, Maimuna: Meunier, Dominique; Berger, Anouk; Reichel, Jane; Christoffels, Alan; Bendou, Hocine; Swanepoel, Carmen; Smit, Lemoene; McKellar-Basset, Campbell; Bongcam Rudloff, Erik; Söderberg, Jonas; Merino-Martinex, Roxana; Amaya, Suyesh; Kihara, Absolomon; Kemp, Steve; Reihs, Robert; Müller, Heimo

Abstract

Biobanks are an organized collection of biological material and associated data. They are a fundamental resource for life science research and contribute to the development of pharmaceutical drugs, diagnostic markers and to a deeper understanding of the genetics that regulate the development of all life on earth.Biobanks are well established in High Income Countries (HIC) and are rapidly emerging in Low and Middle Income Countries (LMIC). Surveys among biobanks operating in a LMIC setting indicate that limited resources and short term funding tied to specific projects threaten the sustainability of the biobanks. Fit-for-purpose biobanks targeting major societal challenges such as HIV and Malaria provide an excellent basis for integrating biobanks with the available research communities in LMIC regions. But to become sustainable for the future it is important that biobanks become an integrated part of local research communities. To achieve this, the cost of operating biobanks must be lowered, templates must be developed to support local ethics committees and researchers must be given the opportunity to build experience in successfully operating biobank based research projects.The B3Africa consortium is based on these conclusions and set up to support biobank based research by creating a cost efficient Laboratory Information Management System (LIMS) for developing biobanks and also contribute to the training and capacity building in the local research community. The technical platform called the eB3Kit is open source and consists of a LIMS and a bioinformatics module based on the eBiokit that allow researchers to take control over the analysis of their own data. Along with the technical platform the consortium will also contribute training and support for the associated infrastructures necessary to regulate the ethical and legal implications of biobank based research.

Keywords

biobank; low-and medium-income countries; biobank and cohort building; eInfrastructure; open source open source software; ethical; legal and social issues; bioinformatics

Published in

Title: IST-Africa Week Conference

Conference

IST-Africa Week Conference, Durban, SOUTH AFRICA, MAY 11-13, 2016