The Malta BioBank is the first national archive of biological samples. It houses a population bank and a clinical bank with specific collections. The population bank has a very large collection of random Maltese neonates, pooled neonatal samples, multiple births and senior citizens. The clinical bank has specific collections such as the Globin Bank, the Coeliac collection, the Parkinson’s collection, the Diabetes collection and a small collection of other rare disorders from the genetics services.
The two main projects of the biobank are:
The Globin Bank currently holds more than 250 Hb F Malta I (p.α2Gγ2117Arg) carrier samples and other samples with haemoglobin variants such as Hb F Sardegna (p.α2Aγ275Thr) and Hb Valletta (p.α2β287Pro). Unique families with HPFH from the globinbank were found to be haplo-insufficient in the transcription factor KLF1 (p.K288X) that now appears to be a master regulator of erythropoiesis and gene switching
The Maltese Genome Project targets 1% of the population regarding origins, mobility, epidemiology, pharmacogenomics and immunogenetics for gene discovery research.
The Malta BioBank is founding member of ITHANET (thalassaemia network) Euro-BioBank and RDCONNECT as well as BBMRI. It seeks to expand the scope of bio-banking in Malta and the Euro-Mediterranean region.