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What are biobanks? Part 2

Biobanks are organized collections of human biological material.
At the beginning of that we need to have biological samples and here come the biobanks. Biobanks are collections organized of human biological material and lots of associated information stored for research purposes. Nowadays there are a few of these biobanks and what is clear is that they’re producing a depth of information that is extremely interesting for genomics and for personalize medicine. Medicine is going everyday more and more personalized looking at the specificities of each individual mainly in biological terms and having the possibility of dealing with the specific disease that given person may have.
In this case of biobanks, they have these human tissues, this information and this is accessible for different researches and what is interesting is that a lot of information in being kept there so people, researches that are interested in a given disease, in a given situation they don’t have to produce all the data, lots of data is already produced. No doubt that the existence of biobanks is generating lots of questions on privacy, ethics, and in all these issues what we have to have very clear is that if we are interested in the results of biobanks we have to look carefully that everything is done properly, is done in a way that is acceptable and it’s legal and socially admissible.
This is what we call the ELSI aspects of biobanks: ethical, legal, social, issues.
Ethical: whether is it good or it is bad; is acceptable that I give my own samples and what are going to happen with that.
Legal: what is going to happen if something comes out of interest in my own genome?
Social: to each extent the information produced in myself is going to be seen by others. So, there are problems of ownerships, problems related to the kind of biobank whether it is a public or governmental, commercial or private resource institution, how is the governance, how is the funding of the biobank… In all the cases the most important thing always is to have very clear that all the aspects are being dealt in an acceptable way.

Biobanks are organized collections of human biological material. They are used to produce and store a lot of associated information for research purposes. How should they be dealt with?

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