HIV Specimen Cryorepository
Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering
HIV Specimen Cryorepository (Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation).
© Fraunhofer IBMT (Photo: Bernd Müller).
In 2006 the Fraunhofer Institute for Biomedical Engineering (IBMT) was given a first grant by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to establish an exemplary HIV biobank in support of a joint initiative to develop of a vaccine against AIDS (Collaboration for AIDS Vaccine Discovery – CAVD). That the project was awarded to Germany and the Saarland was undoubtedly the result of the continuous biotechnical promotion through the state of Saarland, the Fraunhofer Society as well as the innovative development of cryotechnology at the Fraunhofer IBMT.
On July 31st, 2009 the progenitor project successfully concluded under the coordination of the Fraunhofer IBMT with the virologist Prof. Dr. Hagen von Briesen in close collaboration with 11 international partners in particular the University of Saarland (Prof. Dr. A. Meyerhans).
Thus, the State of Saarland is now sheltering one of the most modern state-of-the-art biobanks in the world, featuring electronic recognition of the samples, deep-freeze compatible memory chips attached to each vial and a high degree of automation. In 2009, in a final step, the biobank and its affiliated laboratories were upgraded and certified to the European as well as American standards of Good Clinical Laboratory Practice (GCLP). The setup of the biobank is considered as a pioneering effort and utmost success since the certification has been passed in a first attempt.
Directly after the conclusion of the project the IBMT received the grant approval for the second project. This new project will focus on the expansion of the HIV biobank’s acitivities and its international networking. Another aspect will be building up the laboratory automation systems in support of the vaccine development.
Due to its international visibility and the establishment of exemplary biobanking technology in the State of Saarland, the State Ministry of the Economic Affairs and Research emphatically supports this project, which is highly relevant to various clinical and biotechnological applications strengthening medical engineering developments of the Saarland.
This project is also coordinated by the Fraunhofer IBMT in close collaboration with the Medical Faculty of the Saarland University, the World Health Organization (Geneva), the National Institutes of Health (USA), the National Institute for Biological Standards and Control (Great Britain), the University of Lund (Sweden), the DIBT (Italy), the Instituto de Biologia Experimental e Tecnológica (IBET, Portugal) and the Universitat Pompeu Fabra (UPF, Spain) as well as a network of medical facilities in developing countries.
The two projects in question are the only research projects of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation coordinated by a German institution according to our knowledge.