Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering
Biobanks are collections of biospecimens and related data. For medical research, human biospecimens once collected for diagnostics and therapy are processed (mostly at university hospitals), annotated with case-specific clinical data, and preserved in the hospital’s biobank.
From these decentralized biobanks, data is integrated more and more in inter-institutional infrastructures or „metabiobanks“.These metabiobanks provide structured information about the federated local biorepositories and serve
- to facilitate and accelerate research access to decentralized biorepositories and
- acquire research projects for the partner hospitals and biobanks.
Since 2007 the metabiobank CRIP („Central Research Infrastructure for molecular Pathology“) is maintained and further developed at Fraunhofer IBMT. Based on the CRIP Privacy Regime, both the donors’ privacy, biobank autonomy and confidentiality, and the researchers’ needs for appropriate biospecimens and information, as well as confidentiality, are secured. Thus CRIP became a role model for other metabiobanks as for example the „Projekt-Portal im Deutschen Biobanken-Register (P2B2)“, which is being jointly built by Fraunhofer IBMT and TMF (www.tmf-ev.de) in 2010-2012 together with six biobank partners to become a basis of the central German biobanking infrastructure.
In addition to federated database-architecture and software, which is like the „backbone“ of a metabiobank, Fraunhofer IBMT is developing interfaces, tools and web services
- to classify or annotate medical reports, which are given as free text (Semi-Automated Annotation Tools; SAAT)
- to extract research relevant data from the clinical ICT enviroment
- to network CRIP with further European metabiobanks
Hence Fraunhofer IBMT is a service-orientated broker between clinical biobanks and research users actively contributing to a comprehensive German biobanking infrastructure.