The German Biobank Node (GBN) is the umbrella organisation of biobanks in Germany and represents the interests of German biobanks within BBMRI-ERIC. GBN is also the primary contact in Germany for all stakeholders in biobanking.
Under the leadership of GBN, 11 biobank sites and 2 IT development centres have formed – funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research (BMBF) – the German Biobank Alliance (GBA) in 2017. The alliance has grown continuously since then.
The common goal of both GBN and the biobanks is to make biospecimens and associated data available for (inter)national biomedical research and to offer researchers multicentre sample collections. To this end, the alliance partners are harmonising their quality standards, establishing a networked IT structure, and creating a further training programme for biobank technicians. Activities in the field of quality management include ring trials, a biomarker validation study, a training programme for auditors and “friendly audits” meeting the ISO standard 20387 for biobanking. Cross-biobank searches for biosamples and related data can be carried out using the “Sample Locator” online search tool.
GBN develops strategies to engage with stakeholders relevant to biobanks – from researchers to patients. GBN offers alliance partners a biobank toolkit for stakeholder communication that includes an information campaign aimed at sample donors. The campaign provides information on sample donations and biobanks: it comprises posters and flyers used in hospitals as well as the website www.biobanken-verstehen.de featuring further information.
GBN’s commitment is not limited to the German biobank community. With many of their experts being active within the BBMRI-ERIC common services as well as European working groups, GBN also strongly supports biobank developments in Europe.
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