lunes, 21 de abril de 2014

European Journal of Human Genetics - Abstract of article: Toward a common language for biobanking

European Journal of Human Genetics - Abstract of article: Toward a common language for biobanking


European Journal of Human Genetics advance online publication 9 April 2014; doi: 10.1038/ejhg.2014.45

Toward a common language for biobanking

Martin N Fransson1,2, Emmanuelle Rial-Sebbag3, Mathias Brochhausen4 and Jan-Eric Litton1
  1. 1Department of Medical Epidemiology and Biostatistics, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  2. 2Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, Stockholm, Sweden
  3. 3INSERM/Université de Toulouse—Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse III, UMR 1027, Toulouse, France
  4. 4Division of Biomedical Informatics, University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences, Little Rock, AR, USA
Correspondence: Dr MN Fransson, Institute of Environmental Medicine, Karolinska Institutet, PO Box 210, Stockholm SE-171 77, Sweden. Tel: +46 8 524 822 30; Fax: +46 8 33 69 81;
Received 22 August 2013; Revised 29 January 2014; Accepted 19 February 2014
Advance online publication 9 April 2014


To encourage the process of harmonization, the biobank community should support and use a common terminology. Relevant terms may be found in general thesauri for medicine, legal instruments or specific glossaries for biobanking. A comparison of the use of these sources has so far not been conducted and would be a useful instrument to further promote harmonization and data sharing. Thus, the purpose of the present study was to investigate the preference of definitions important for sharing biological samples and data. Definitions for 10 terms –[human] biobank,sample/specimensample collectionstudyaliquotcodedidentifying informationanonymisedpersonal data and informed consent–were collected from several sources. A web-based questionnaire was sent to 560 European individuals working with biobanks asking to select their preferred definition for the terms. A total of 123 people participated in the survey, giving a response rate of 23%. The result was evaluated from four aspects: scope of definitions, potential regional differences, differences in semantics and definitions in the context of ontologies, guided by comments from responders. Indicative from the survey is the risk of focusing only on the research aspect of biobanking in definitions. Hence, it is recommended that important terms should be formulated in such a way that all areas of biobanking are covered to improve the bridges between research and clinical application. Since several of the terms investigated here within can also be found in a legal context, which may differ between countries, establishing what is a proper definition on how it adheres to law is also crucial.

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