Embedding biobanks as tools for personalised medicine
Many governments are seeking to improve the translation of medical research innovation by developing mechanisms to aid the flow of information between the laboratory and the clinic. The intention is that the combination of new research insights and the use of next generation sequencing technology in the clinic will lead to more and better personalised medicine outcomes. However, existing healthcare structures often maintain the sharp line between research and the clinic, which slows down the bidirectional flow of information that is needed to enable effective translation. At the same time, within the biobanking field, infrastructures are being built to enable more efficient and better quality research. As with translational research, there are a number of challenges for these biobanking initiatives. Questions remain as to the best way to utilise biobanks for translational research. Other challenges are how to ensure the sustainability of individual biobanks and the biobank infrastructures that are being developed. Sustainability requires public support for long-term funding, as well as the on-going commitment of patients and research participants to provide the raw material for biobanks and regular use by researchers. One possible solution to the challenges that are found in these two areas is to embed a biobank within the healthcare structure and to use it for healthcare and research purposes simultaneously. This paper discusses the CuraRata and the EnCoRe dynamic consent models that in combination could provide sustainability for biobanks and at the same time enable translational research.