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European Biopharmaceutical Review

Pushing Biobank Standardisation

Establishing an effective biomedical tissue management system is an integral part of moves to standardise and harmonise biobanking practices, explains Dr Achim Quandt of QIAGEN GmbH

In cancer research, as with other areas of biomedical research, a major issue facing researchers is the great variation in the methods employed by different labs for collecting, storing and analysing biological samples. This affects the quality and comparability of research data, and can only be resolved by the widespread adoption of standardised and quality-controlled protocols. Such protocols in case-control, cohort and other epidemiological studies are required to facilitate the discovery and validation of relevant disease biomarkers and, ultimately, the development of diagnostics and therapeutics.

Initiatives at the national and international level to standardise and harmonise biobanking practices have already begun. In Europe, the European Commission and the Wellcome Trust organised a conference in 2005 to discuss the current state of biobanks in Europe and to propose future strategies, including greater harmonisation of programmes and standards and greater standardisation of protocols. Proposals will be submitted to the 7th Framework Programme for Research and Technological Development (FP7), an EU programme with a budget of over 50 billion to fund trans-European research.


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Dr Achim Quandt joined QIAGEN GmbH, a leading supplier of sample and assay technologies, as Global Product Manager for gene expression analysis products in April 2000. His current role involves global responsibility for the biomedical research market segment, including biomedical tissue management and biobanking. Prior to this, he spent five years working in sales and marketing at molecular diagnostics companies. Achim has a PhD in Molecular Biology and has studied at Bielefeld University, Germany, and the University of Edinburgh, UK.
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