Many biotech observers maintain that the future of healthcare will largely be based on the field of personalized medicine, reports Genetic Engineering & Biotechnology News (GEN). Although drug discovery efforts require access to increasingly larger arrays of biosamples, demand is exceeding supply, fueling the growth of the biobanking market, according to a recent issue of GEN.*
“Personalized medicine is all about tailoring specific therapies for individual patients,” said John Sterling, Editor-in-Chief of GEN. “Scientists are faced with a growing need for biospecimens such as blood, saliva, plasma, and purified DNA to move personalized medicine research forward. Bio-repositories and biobanks will continue to play a critical role in this work.”
Sources for human material range from those that provide postmortem material, such as the International Institute for the Advancement of Medicine (IIAM), to consortia that provide samples from living donors with specific diseases, such as the Lung Tissue Research Consortium. Depending on source, varying amounts of donor information are supplied with the human materials.
One key development is the emergence of virtual biobanking, where companies provide a single point of access to a range of biospecimens. Using networks of ethical sources, they find the tissues required to the specifications provided by the requester, and then deliver them to the requester. This streamlines the procurement of tissue and benefits all parties.
The GEN article includes important insights on biobanking from scientists at Novartis, Leo Pharma, Merck Research Laboratories, Janssen Pharmaceuticals, and the University of Manchester in the U.K.
Mary Ann Liebert, Inc./Genetic Engineering News