Biobanking at UCL

Why is Biobanking important?

The main aim of developing Biobanking at UCL is to maximise the value of data and biospecimen repositories across all campuses. Biobanking is now heavily relied upon Worldwide for advancing research into a vast variety of health problems and to develop new ideas, technology and knowledge. Access to biorepositories and associated data is crucial to ongoing biomedical research. In order for large sample collections and data to be fully appreciated, ensuring the robust, accurate management of tissue and data repositories is vital. By combining the resources already available at UCL in a rationalized model, the full potential of these sample and data sets in the development of new translational research ideas and advancement of personalised medicine can be realised, not only by those at UCL but by the wider research community.

Developing infrastructure for Biobanking at UCL will help maximise, for patient benefit, the value of data and biospecimen repositories across all campuses. Patients’ samples with pseudoanonymised data are crucial for the development of biomedical research, particularly translational research.

Featured Biobank - Human Developmental Biology Resource

The MRC-Wellcome Trust Human Developmental Biology Resource (HDBR) is organised from two sites: the Institute of Genetic Medicine, Newcastle, and the Institute of Child Health, UCL.  The HDBR is an ongoing collection of human embryonic and foetal material ranging from 4 to 14 weeks of development. Tissue and RNA samples are available to the international scientific community. Material can either be sent to registered users or our In House Gene Expression Service (IHGES) can carry out projects on the user's behalf and provide high quality electronic images and interpretation of gene expression patterns. Any gene expression data that emerges from use of the HDBR material is added to our gene expression database which is accessible via our HUDSEN (Human Developmental Studies Network) website.

For further information about the Human Developmental Biology Resource or the In House Gene Expression Service (IHGES), can be found at www.hdbr.org or by contacting the resource  manager at Newcastle  hdbr@ncl.ac.uk or London hdbr@ucl.ac.uk.

What are the Biobanking options at UCL?

1) Physical Biobank

Two University College London (UCL) biobanks, one based at the Royal Free Hospital (RFH) Campus and the other based at Bloomsbury supporting Pathology and the Cancer Institute, act as physical repositories for collections of biological samples and data from patients consented at UCLH, Partners Hospitals and external sources. This incorporates collections of existing stored samples and new collections. It provides a unique opportunity to advance medical research.

The biobank:

  • is a highly flexible facility
  • is directed at the user to:
    1. facilitate research
    2. improve research governance
    3. enable dispatch of sample to researchers Nationally and Internationally.
  • will provide assistance with regulatory compliance

UCL - RFH BioBank (for presentations from the Royal Free Biobank Launch Event in February 2011 see News and Events)

UCL- RFH BioBank, the physical repository at the Royal Free, presents a unique opportunity to advance medical research through making access to research tissue easier, faster and much more efficient. The BioBank is both a physical repository, with capacity for up to 1 million cryogenically stored samples and a virtual repository for all tissue, cell, plasma, serum, DNA and RNA samples stored throughout UCLP. In particular, samples considered 'relevant material', such as tissues and cells, that are licensed by the Human Tissue Authority, can be stored long term. Existing holdings of tissues and cells where appropriate can be transferred to the Physical BioBank at the Royal Free.

UCL - Royal Free BioBank provides a flexible approach to banking, allowing the Depositor to pick and choose services that are tailored to fit their requirements. Collaborations arising from publicising of the existence of the holdings are entirely at the discretion of the depositor, as the facility ensures that access to the deposits remains at the decision of the Depositor/User.

The UCL- Royal Free BioBank will set up service level agreements with all users in order to define the responsibilities of the user and the biobank in all aspects of the biobanking process, from consent and collection through to disposal and transfer to third parties.

For a video showing more information of the facility see UCL-Royal Free biobank or News and Events

UCL/UCLH Biobank for studying Health and Disease (based at Pathology-Rockefeller building and the UCL-Cancer Institute

The biobank supports projects principally involved in the study of human disease and the aim is to support primarily, research in the Pathology Department, UCLH and the UCL-Cancer Institute but it will also support other UCLH partners. The biobank stores normal and pathological specimens, surplus to diagnostic requirements, from relevant tissues and bodily fluids. Stored tissues include; snap-frozen or cryopreserved tissue, formalin-fixed tissue, paraffin-embedded tissues, and slides prepared for histological examination. Tissues include resection specimens obtained surgically or by needle core biopsy. Bodily fluids include; whole blood, serum, plasma, urine, cerebrospinal fluid, milk, saliva and buccal smears and cytological specimens such as sputum and cervical smears. Fine needle aspirates obtained from tissues and bodily cavities (e.g. pleura and peritoneum) are also be collected. Where appropriate the biobank can also store separated cells, protein, DNA and RNA isolated from collected tissues and bodily fluids described above. Some of the tissue and aspirated samples are stored in the diagnostic archive.

The establishment of a core programme enables a centralised approach to the management and integration of all research groups working within these institutions, providing appropriate structure and support.

For a presentation on the Cancer Institute and Pathology Biobank see News and Events

UCL BioResource (part of the NIHR BioResource)

The NIHR BioResource will provide a national cohort of healthy volunteers, patients and their relatives who wish to participate in clinical research, and are willing to provide clinical information and samples that enable recall to studies by genotype and phenotype. Such studies identify disease mechanisms and will underpin future advances in stratified medicine. Established around NIHR Biomedical Research Centres and Units, volunteers and patients will be recalled to participate in experimental medicine studies and early phase clinical trials undertaken in local Clinical Research Facilities and Clinical Trials Units. UCL is one of the centres hosting a BioResource, the UCL BioResource.

Information on other sample/data collections across UCL

For other sample and data collections based at UCL, basic information on what is available and the contact details will be available from the Biobank Facilitator.

Please contact Kirstin Goldring (Biobank Facilitator), 0203 4475368, k.goldring@ucl.ac.uk, if have a sample/data collection and you are interested in the Biobanking infrastructure at UCL, or if you are interested in sourcing samples.

Page last modified on 31 jul 14 09:53 by Kirstin Goldring