Human biological samples, such as tissues, cells, bodily fluids or derivatives such as DNA, including associated clinical and research data are key resources in unravelling genetic and environmental factors underlying diseases and influencing their outcome. These biological resources are considered as the essential raw material for the advancement of biotechnology, human health and research and development in life sciences. Consequently internationally harmonized efforts are required in order to provide efficient and secure access to these resources. This led to the concept of an OECD Global Biological Resource Centres Network (GBRCN).
It is proposed to practically test in a “pilot phase of the GBRCN” the feasibility of the implementation of the OECD best practice guidelines as an internationally agreed standard for transnational collaboration in the field of biobanking. Such a pilot phase has been discussed at an OECD workshop in Paris 2006 and has already been initiated for the microbial domain. The establishment of a human domain pilot GBRCN would be an important progress towards global harmonization of biobanking facilitating international collaborations in medical research. The outcome of the pilot study will be reported to the OECD Working Party on Biotechnology.
BBMRI AS THE EUROPEAN PART OF A HUMAN DOMAIN GBRCN
The pan-European Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure (BBMRI) is designed to further develop these resources and to provide access to academia and industry. BBMRI will become the one and only (multi-sited) research infrastructure for biobanking and biomolecular resources for whole of Europe that provides access to samples and data, and will have an international legal entity with its own public governance structure and funding. Although BBMRI will be located in Europe it aims at establishing close collaborations with biobanks and biological resource centres outside of Europe. This might be facilitated by the fact that BBMRI builds on the OECD best practice guidelines for biological resource centres that define common standards for international collaborations of biological resource centres within OECD Member States and enhanced engagement countries.