Dear Colleagues and Biobankers,
The collection of samples using equivalent quality standards is essential for research projects employing biomaterials from different biobanks. Samples collected in the past were acquired in different infrastructures with diverse processes involved for sample collection, processing and storage. This has led to very heterogeneous levels of quality which makes cross-biobank research with samples from different sources a real challenge. One of the main tasks of the German Biobank Node is therefore to address quality management issues and work towards harmonized protocols, including comprehensive documentation. The substantial interest expressed by the German biobank community has shown that quality management (QM) is a topic that is of increasing importance and topicality – therefore this Newsletter issue is dedicated to QUALITY.
GBN has organized a series of three QM workshops and the results will be compiled as a QM manual with generic templates for all core processes – available in summer 2016. We would like to thank all participating biobanks for their contributions to this very successful process! These activities continue as BBMRIERIC cooperates with the international standards organizations (CEN/ISO) and many of our German QM experts have been involved in this endeavor. In this Newsletter, we present three articles to underline the ongoing activities: firstly, the GBN QM work package, secondly the BBMRI QM perspective and thirdly background information on the CEN/ISO standard development. The diary of a virtual quality manager completes the picture of the many facets of QM. We hope you will find our selection informative and enjoyable and we wish you a prosperous springtime!
Michael Hummel & Cornelia Rufenach