BBMRI (Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure)
Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Infrastructure (BBMRI)
Biobanks are a key resource for unravelling the molecular basis of disease subtypes, identification of new targets for therapy and reduction of attrition in drug discovery and development. The broad spectrum of existing biobanks in Europe is considered as a specific strength of European research. Unfortunately the diversity, lack of standardisation, different rules of access of these biobanks and the differential ethical and legal landscape across Europe has prevented their effective use. Development of common IT infrastructure and sustainable funding schemes are key features for large transnational projects interlinking different national and regional biobanks. Agreement on common standards is equally important for all de novo biobanks. In 2008, the pan-European infrastructure BBMRI was established to bring cohesion to the European biobanking community and to make the existing and new high quality biological resources available for health research in Europe. Organised as a dynamic distributed hub structure, BBMRI acts as an interface between cutting edge medical research and the EU population. Networking and harmonisation of biobanking across Europe will increase the success of coordinated, large-scale biomarker discovery and validation; facilitate the identification of susceptibility genes and their association with environment and lifestyle factors; elucidate aetiological pathways for multi-factoral diseases and facilitate discovery of new drugs and therapies. The creation of a pan-European biobanking infrastructure will in turn allow Europe to compete at a global level thereby increasing its attractiveness for industries and world class research
The Mission of BBMRI
BBMRI-ERIC will increase efficacy and excellence of European bio-medical research:
by facilitating access to quality-defined human health/disease-relevant biological resources
including associated data in an efficient and ethically and legally compliant manner,
by reducing the fragmentation of the bio-medical research landscape through harmonization
of procedures, implementation of common standards and fostering high-level collaboration,
by capacity building in countries with less developed biobanking communities thereby
contributing to Europe's cohesion policy and strengthening the ERA.
Further information on BBMRI is available on the following link: http://www.bbmri-eric.eu/
Structure of BBMRI
The FP7-funded preparatory phase of the BBMRI came to an end in January 2011. On 22 November 2013, BBMRI was officially awarded the Community legal framework for a European Research Infrastructure Consortium (ERIC). This specific legal form is designed to facilitate the joint establishment and operation of reserach infrastructures of European interest.
The ERIC status allows pulling together biobanks and biomolecular resources into a pan-European facility. BBMRI-ERIC will provide access to the collections of partner biobanks and biomolecular resources, their expertise and services on a non-economic basis.
BBMRI-ERIC foresees a Central Executive Management Office ("Headquarter") in Graz, Austria that coordinates the interaction of National Hubs established in several Member States. The Central Executive Management Office provides a common access portal to resources available at BBMRI-ERIC Partners as well as appropriate facilities and expertise. The National Hubs are also established under the ERIC legal entity and will link the national scientific community (e.g., universities, hospitals, research institutions, resource centres) to BBMRI-ERIC.
Austria, Belgium, Czech Republic, Estonia, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Italy, Latvia, Malta, Netherlands, Norway and Sweden have National Hubs.
Jan-Eric Litton, Professor of Biomedical Computing Technology at the Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, is the appointed Director General of BBMRI-ERIC.
Ireland’s participation in BBMRI
A decision has not yet been reached as to whether Ireland will join the BBMRI-ERIC, though we are still participating through the Health Research Board's connection to BBMRI (Anne Cody).
MMI prepared a position paper recommending that Ireland commits to full membership of the ERICS for both BBMRI and the European Clinical Research Infrastructure Network (ECRIN). To access this paper please click here
As the Scientific Member coordinating Ireland’s participation in BBMRI, MMI played an important role in the preparatory phase of BBMRI, a particular example being the contribution of MMI’s Guidelines for Standardised Biobanking which have been adopted by BBMRI to ensure harmonisation of biological materials in Europe across jurisdictions. The use of standardised protocols for sample collection, processing and storage will provide proper safeguards and assurances required for sample quality, consistency and integrity among bio-collections at different sites. This harmonisation will facilitate the global movement of biological materials across research sites and the aggregation of samples for research studies. This will expedite high quality research and reduce its costs.
Ireland has played a leading role in BBMRI’s Stakeholder’s Forum. In recognition of his reputation throughout Europe as an advocate for patient focussed research, Michael Griffith of Fighting Blindness and IPPOSI was invited to be Chair of the Stakeholder Forum. Derick Mitchell, who is employed by IPPOSI, is the Executive Manager of the Forum. The Stakeholder Forum actively collates the input and requirements of its broad stakeholder community of biobanking in Europe, comprising patients, clinicians, funding organisations, associated project partners, industry, and researchers.
For further information on the BBMRI Stakeholder Forum, please click here http://bbmri.eu/stakeholder-s-forum
BBMRI Catalogue of European Biobanks
BBMRI is currently creating an inventory of Europe's biobanking landscape. Biobanks which want to be part of the BBMRI infrastructure need to complete a core questionnaire which is mandatory to be registered with BBMRI. Irish biobanks can fill in BBMRI’s core questionnaire which is available at the following link to be part of the BBMRI pan-European network of biobanks.
MoU signed between BBMRI-ERIC and EATRIS-ERIC
The importance of the role of biobanking within biomedical research is recognized through the collaboration between EATRIS-ERIC and BBMRI-ERIC.
EATRIS-ERIC (the European Infrastucture for Translational Medicine) and BBMRI-ERIC (the Biobanking and BioMolecular Resources Research Infrastructure) have formalised their collaboration through the signing of a Memorandum of Understadning (MoU) 16 March 2014.
The purpose of this MoU is to set up a collaboration between the two Research Infrastructures (RI) EATRIS-ERIC and BBMRI-ERIC. The main objectives of this collaboration will be to advance the development of biobanking and translational research infrastructures, and to improve quality and access to biobanking and biomarker development resources and expertise throughout Europe.
The governance of the collaboration will be dealt with as part of the structuring of a joint project and will be stipulated in a Collaboration Agreement. Partners and stakeholders that will be involved in the development and implementation of the collaboration are other ESFRI BMS RI's or RI preparatory projects required for the R&D pathway and other relevant international organisations.
By combining the significant resources and expertise residing in these two permanent international infrastructures, Europe is better positioned to tackle the significant challenges of innovation in the age of personalized medicine.