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Biobanking and BioMolecular resources Research Infrastructure – European Research Infrastructure Consortium

SBP is a member of the BBMRI-ERIC network as the Swiss node and is an active partner in various activities, such as Common Service ELSI, Quality Working Groups and ADOPT Project. This involvement allows SBP to follow the BBMRI-ERIC strategy and adapt it to Swiss needs.

Work program 2018

BBMRI – ERIC publishes an annual Work Program specifying objectives, expected outcomes and schedule. Work Program 2018 focuses on the improvement of marketing and communication, stakeholder engagement and the main services and tools related to Quality, IT and ELSI. National nodes are asked to support biobanks locally by implementing the Work Program and to drive sample use. Switzerland holds an observer status within BBMRI-ERIC, represented by SBP and staff actively participate in the different Common Services and Working Groups (WG).

SBP’ involvement in BBMRI-ERIC activities

1. Quality

Working Group Quality focuses mainly on the implementation of quality tools for biobankers and researchers. A quality grade – determined by self-assessment surveys for CEN Technical Specifications (CEN/TS) – will be introduced to enhance the visibility of European biobanks, by highlighting them in the BBMRI-ERIC Directory. An audit program concept paper is under development, supporting biobanks in reaching certification and accreditation by authorized national qualification bodies.

In 2017 there were three main objectives:

  • Enhancing visibility of biobanks in the BBMRI-ERIC Directory by introducing a quality grade;
  • Concept paper development of the audit program: provide quality consultancy and peer-review audits;
  • Contribution to international standard developments: ISO/TC 276 Biotechnology as well as ISO/TC 212 Clinical laboratory testing and in vitrodiagnostic test systems.

SBP participates in Sub-WG 5, initiated in 2016 as the general quality management group for biobanks. During monthly conference calls the following topics were discussed:

  • Review of the self-assessment surveys developed to determine the quality grade of a biobank;
  • Each month a different country presents its current activities. In September 2017 it was Switzerland’s turn and SBP presented its quality strategy. In addition, Liquid Biobank Bern gave insights into their quality management system;
  • Concept development of the audit program.

With regards to this WG, SBP is leading the field strategically with its expertise in future ISO standards ahead of time and enabling future development to be influenced and developed by Swiss stakeholder requirements. In that context, SBP was the reference body for collecting comments on the future ISO 20387 for Switzerland in July 2017.

SBP was and will continue to be active in the development of the BBMRI-ERIC self-assessment surveys. Moreover, SBP will advise on the construction of the audit program.

2. Common Service ELSI

Common Service (CS) ELSI focuses on the ethical, legal, and social issues (ELSI), by providing expertise as well as incorporating stakeholder points of view in the development process of tools, services and policies. It aims to facilitate and support cross-border exchanges of human biological resources and associated data for research purposes, collaborations and knowledge sharing, experiences and best practices among Member States. The CS ELSI is made up of experts from all BBMRI-ERIC member states; SBP joined in January 2017.

In 2016, Task Forces (TF) were created to address specific objectives and deadlines (of the BBMRI-ERIC.) As such, SBP is part of the International Organizations’ Policy Assessment and Monitoring TF and the Good Examples TF.

Task Force International Organizations’ Policy Assessment and Monitoring

The goal of this TF is to:

  • Establish permanent contact with relevant International Organizations working in the biobanking field of ELSI;
  • Monitor and communicate on the relevant activities of the International Organizations with the CS ELSI;
  • Provide a coordinated expertise capacity at pan-European level on the topics addressed by the International Organizations, as a service (e.g. development of norms, public consultations, etc.).

Task Force on Good Examples

This TF aims to enhance public debate and support policy makers by high-lighting and collecting good examples from biobanks and personal data in order to produce benefits for patients.

Any biobank interested in promoting its success story can contact Definition of good examples: “positive stories of biobanking-based-research with a healthcare impact”.

3. Common Service IT

Once the SBP interoperability strategy and business model have been validated, an active collaboration with BBMRI Common Service IT will be put in place.

4. ADOPT Project

The ADOPT BBMRI-ERIC proposal aims to boost and accelerate implementation of BBMRI-ERIC and its services. SBP is mainly involved in WP 2 (Datasets) and 3 (IT Gateway to European Biobanks), which are related to the setup of a Colorectal Cancer Cohort, i.e. coordinates the participation of Swiss biobanks.


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