Pan-European biobank needed: ESF

Greater coordination between Europe's biobanks is "urgently needed," says a group of leading European scientists in a policy briefing linkurl:published;http://www.esf.org/research-areas/medical-sciences/news/ext-news-singleview/article/europes-biobanks-need-urgent-coordination-scientists-say-446.html yesterday (May 27) by the European Science Foundation (ESF). Europe has many large linkurl:biobanks;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/20978/ -- repositories of biological samples and oth

Elie Dolgin
May 27, 2008
Greater coordination between Europe's biobanks is "urgently needed," says a group of leading European scientists in a policy briefing linkurl:published;http://www.esf.org/research-areas/medical-sciences/news/ext-news-singleview/article/europes-biobanks-need-urgent-coordination-scientists-say-446.html yesterday (May 27) by the European Science Foundation (ESF). Europe has many large linkurl:biobanks;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/20978/ -- repositories of biological samples and other information for scientific investigation -- but legal, ethical and social differences between countries lead to fragmentation and under-utilization of the available resources, according to the briefing's authors, which include linkurl:Gert-jan van Ommen;http://www.cmsb.nl/home/gjvo.php of Leiden University Medical Center and Frank Skorpen of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. "Practical regulatory formats have become unnecessarily diverse due to the multitude of independent national legislative processes in the member states," the report said. "This seriously hampers progress in a major field where Europe is otherwise poised to take a leading role." The linkurl:policy briefing;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/21811/ also called for "a consolidated long-term funding framework" to maintain European biobanks, and urged the implementation of...
d;http://www.esf.org/research-areas/medical-sciences/news/ext-news-singleview/article/europes-biobanks-need-urgent-coordination-scientists-say-446.html yesterday (May 27) by the European Science Foundation (ESF). Europe has many large linkurl:biobanks;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/20978/ -- repositories of biological samples and other information for scientific investigation -- but legal, ethical and social differences between countries lead to fragmentation and under-utilization of the available resources, according to the briefing's authors, which include linkurl:Gert-jan van Ommen;http://www.cmsb.nl/home/gjvo.php of Leiden University Medical Center and Frank Skorpen of the Norwegian University of Science and Technology. "Practical regulatory formats have become unnecessarily diverse due to the multitude of independent national legislative processes in the member states," the report said. "This seriously hampers progress in a major field where Europe is otherwise poised to take a leading role." The linkurl:policy briefing;http://www.the-scientist.com/article/display/21811/ also called for "a consolidated long-term funding framework" to maintain European biobanks, and urged the implementation of a "strategic working group" to oversee the development of a pan-European biobanking resources infrastructure. __Update (posted May 28): After this NewsBlog was posted, I reached van Ommen, who told me that Europe has around 200,000 biological samples, compared to only 25,000 in the US, yet American genetics-related research often exceeds that of Europe's. "In terms of collecting data, we're doing something right," he said. "But in terms of doing something useful, our technology is lagging behind."__

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