ecancermedicalscience

Special Issue

p-BioSPRE - an information and communication technology framework for transnational biomaterial sharing and access

11 Feb 2014
Gabriele Weiler, Christina Schröder, Fatima Schera, Matthias Dobkowicz, Stephan Kiefer, Karsten R Heidtke, Stefanie Hänold, Iheanyi Nwaknwo, Nikolaus Forgó, Martin Stanulla, Cornelia Eckert, Norbert Graf

Biobanks represent key resources for clinico-genomic research and are needed to pave the way to personalised medicine. To achieve this goal, it is crucial that scientists can securely access and share high-quality biomaterial and related data. Therefore, there is a growing interest in integrating biobanks into larger biomedical information and communication technology (ICT) infrastructures. The European project p-medicine is currently building an innovative ICT infrastructure to meet this need. This platform provides tools and services for conducting research and clinical trials in personalised medicine. In this paper, we describe one of its main components, the biobank access framework p-BioSPRE (p-medicine Biospecimen Search and Project Request Engine). This generic framework enables and simplifies access to existing biobanks, but also to offer own biomaterial collections to research communities, and to manage biobank specimens and related clinical data over the ObTiMA Trial Biomaterial Manager. p-BioSPRE takes into consideration all relevant ethical and legal standards, e.g., safeguarding donors’ personal rights and enabling biobanks to keep control over the donated material and related data. The framework thus enables secure sharing of biomaterial within open and closed research communities, while flexibly integrating related clinical and omics data. Although the development of the framework is mainly driven by user scenarios from the cancer domain, in this case, acute lymphoblastic leukaemia and Wilms tumour, it can be extended to further disease entities.

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