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Scheduled Topics and Descriptions

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Next Generation Biobanking Biobanks underpin and facilitate the national and international research efforts, by providing high-quality, research-ready samples and associated data, according to a set of best practices and standards. Over the last two decades biobanks have multiplied across the world providing the materials with which research has advanced in the era of ‘-omics’ and precision analytics. The view of biobanking has changed and matured as well: from measuring relative volume of collections in the first years, biobanks increasingly considered their ethical, social and legal contexts, the utilization of samples and the implementation of best practices and standards.

This session will provide examples from the last two decades where biobanking has been crucial in supporting scientific progress. It will also explore what the future of biobanking over the next twenty years might look like through a series of ‘Next generation Biobanking’ presentations.

Regional Regulations: Global Implications In order to ensure the rights of individuals whose personal data and biospecimens are shared broadly, new regulations have been issued in various regions and countries around the globe.  These regulations may apply to biobanking and research activities under certain conditions.  One example, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (EUGDPR), imposes strict data protection requirements for the processing of “personal data” in countries in the European Economic Area (EEA) as well as restricted conditions for the transfer of data outside the EEA.  In addition, other emerging laws, regulations and policies that affect the use and transfer of biospecimens for research are under development or have been enacted in other countries.  These new laws, regulations and policies may have a similar impact on global collaborations.

This session will address current and emerging regional data protection and other regulations and their implications on global collaborations and specimen and data sharing, including biobanking activities and multi-national industry-sponsored research.

From Policy to Practice: Incorporating Biobanking Standards and Best Practices into Methods and Procedures This session will focus on informing attendees about ISBER’s 4th Edition Best Practices (BPs), using examples and comparisons to other international approaches and best practices e.g. OECD, IARC. Key experts will describe the origin, evolution, and voluntary implementation of BPs, in worldwide efforts to improve the quality of biorepositories and expedite research impact. The speakers will highlight the different tools that are based on the ISBER BPs such as the ISBER Self-Assessment Tool, the SPREC (Standard PREanalytical Code) Tool, and the Internal Audit Tool. Attendees will appreciate the added value of adopting BPs into new standards as expected practice, using external providers such as the College of American Pathologists Biorepository Accreditation Program and the ISO biobanking standard.
Life’s Crossroads of Opportunity:  Biobanking and Precision Medicine This session will explore the key role biobanking plays in the exponential expansion of the cellular therapy field. From Pre-clinical development to administration of commercially available products, repositories are needed in all phases.  The speaker presentations will focus on a “bench top” to “bedside” discussion around the emerging repository needs in cellular therapy. Attendees will learn how the ISBER Best Practices are influencing this important field.
Biospecimens as the new currency for research: Insight from the banking world Financial banks serve the community by controlling the transfer of money from those who have it to those who need it.  It can be said that the biospecimens are the currency of a biobank. By taking a look at biobanking through the prism of financial banking models, where biospecimens are the currency, then biobankers are the transactors, the general public are the investors, the government/hospitals are the regulators and the researchers are the consumers. This session will provide an interesting look at how biobanks are operated at the local level as well as a wider discipline. The presentations in this session will be followed by a panel discussion.
Utilization as a Key element to Biobank Sustainability: the Past, Present and Planning for Success in the Future Sustainability is a complex and ongoing challenge for biobanks around the world.  Over the past several years, ISBER has been examining the dimensions of sustainability to help biobanks find solutions.  One of the major issues is the low utilization rate of many of the world’s biobanks, regardless of the sector and size. Utilization can be defined in many ways, which makes it difficult to compare or define success for the use of collections.  Each biobank has their own local constraints for use of their collections and what stakeholder communities that they can serve.  Also, there are various metrics that can be employed to evaluate utilization of samples and data, and these will be discussed as part of the overall introduction to the complexity of pathways to sustainability for current and future biobanks. The invited speakers in the session will highlight their ongoing management of sustainability and how utilization targets and rates are determined in their organization’s biobank(s).
Biobanking in Asia and Oceania Asia and Oceania are some of the largest and most diverse areas of the planet, both in terms of human populations, as well as environmental biodiversity. This ‘Biobanking in Asia and Oceania’ session will include presentations on the common challenges in biobanking across this geographical area, and ask speakers who have faced, and to some degree have addressed, specific issues to present their experiences. Some of the presented challenges will include:  (i) Low- and Middle Income Country (LMIC) -specific barriers and opportunities for funding, (ii) ethical and legal issues on biobanking, (iii) IT barriers, (iv) utilization of samples and accessibility to biobanks, and  (v) standards and expectations.
Biobanking in a Global Research Environment:  Respecting Cultural Perspectives and Special Study Population Considerations in Biobanking Studies have shown that certain populations or groups have specific beliefs and perspectives about the use of their biospecimens for research, and these may vary considerably across the globe or even within a given country.  Furthermore, there may be special considerations for certain populations, such as pediatric populations, that need to be addressed in the design and operation of biobanks.  Respecting the interests and needs related to such groups and addressing cultural perspectives is critical in biobanking and biospecimen research.  Addressing these considerations secures the necessary inclusion of populations in important research studies, is fundamental to establishing trust and therefore critical for biobank social sustainability.

In this session, speakers will describe their experiences in understanding the cultural perspectives, needs and special considerations of certain biobank study populations and discuss how they have been addressed in the design, operation and governance of biobanks.

Living Biobank As one of the next generation of biobanks, living biobanks (iPSC, immune cells, organoids, CRC, PDX, etc.) and related functional analyses are rapidly growing in basic research, clinics, and industry (especially immune-oncology and targeting therapies). Living Biobanks represent a very interesting and important future direction in the global biobanking field. Many cancer centers, CROs, and pharmaceutical companies are developing their own living biobank platforms for the discovery of novel biomarkers/targets.

This session will discuss many aspects in living biobanks, including basic science, technologies, cryopreservation and applications. This discussion should help further understand the basic sciences and broader applications of living biobanks, and can also help to develop standards and policies in this area.

Using Biobanks for the Future of Targeted Medicine The future of biobanking is likely to include operational models where large infrastructural facilities (such as biobanks) are linked closer to ‘direct to consumer’ private providers. In that context biobanks might become the point of convergence for the samples and associated data between private and public sectors. This session will look to the current integration of biobanking in targeted medicine.

The session will investigate the interaction(s) between direct to consumer genomic tests and clinical biomarker tests in human healthcare and environmental studies and the integration of those samples and/or data to existing biobanking infrastructures.

Quality and Biobanking Science It has been reported that the degradation of biospecimens caused in the pre-analytical phase may account for 60% – 80% of laboratory testing errors in routine clinical diagnostics. A considerable effort has been made to assess the impacts of pre-analytical factors on sample quality and try to standardize the pre-analytical procedures. However, due to the lack of appropriate biomarkers, the pre-analytical quality of biospecimens still remains challenging to be measured or quantified. A researcher who receives only frozen sample aliquots generally cannot track the pre-freeze handling of the sample and eliminate the samples handled by incorrect procedures.

This session will review the developed biomarker candidates in different common biospecimens, including DNA, RNA, proteins, peptides, and metabolites, and to discuss the available and future platforms for specimen quality assessment and corresponding applications in biobanks and clinical labs.