Previously, the NCI raised an alarm about the wide range of biospecimen quality used for research programs seeking novel biomarkers for diseases and the resulting tests that aid in the diagnosis of those diseases. During the NCI “Biospecimen Best Practices Forum” held in Seatle in January the warning was repeated.
The NCI identified the absence of standardized, high-quality biospecimens as a major issue in the progress of cancer research. Last year, the institution updated its first-generation guidelines for biorepositories with the publication of “Best Practices for Biospecimen Resources.” The document defines state-of-the-science biospecimen resource practices.
The call for standardization in any industry necessarily follows in the wake of fast-breaking adoption of technology that pushes the boundaries of existing standards or simply passes them by in a rush to market. Pharmaceutical and biotechnology companies are rushing headlong toward a ready market for personalized medicine by pushing accelerated data processing as well as today’s high-throughput processing for biological specimens. The pressure is on research teams to rapidly identify blockbusters for disease diagnosis among a myriad of metabolites, proteins, and genes.
Key Criteria for Selection
Where selecting a biorepository would seem to be limited to selecting a resource provider, experience from biomarker-discovery programs shows a biobank provider becomes an essential partner in project development and plays a critical role in the speed of development and discovery. Ultimately, it is inextricably linked to the quality of the findings. It is not an exaggeration to say a good biorepository can accelerate research by several years and an unfortunate choice can have the opposite effect.