The Italian node of BBMRI has been established with a joint effort by the Ministry of Health and the Ministry of University & Research and it involves ISS (National Institute of Health), CNR, 18 Universities, 22 IRCCS, institutions for hospitalization and care closely linked to translational research, and 8 patient associations. BBMRI-IT has two main goals, to provide new common services for the community of the Italian biobanks and to contribute to the pan-European research infrastructure BBMRI-ERIC.
BBMRI-IT includes 90 biobanks/biological resource centres/collections organized in thematic networks and regional networks with a matrix architecture. Population biobanks and pathology, genetic or disease-oriented biobanks are characterized by a collection of biological samples, such as blood, tissues or DNA, plus associated epidemiological, clinical, and research data, which may be important research tools for identification of new targets for therapy and may help in drug discovery and development. BioBank Specimen Archives have large collections of well-documented, up-to-date clinical and biological information samples, supplied with the molecular genomic resources and with links to epidemiological and healthcare information, which can support retrospective studies and accelerate research progress. A survey has been designed to assess and select well established Italian biobanks in terms of quality and richness in samples and data and to identify biobanks available to provide services to the BBMRI network. Indeed, the Italian node has specific scientific skills that can share with the other national nodes about informatics, molecular analysis in archive tissues and ELSI.