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, and samples from 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 Globin Bank were found to be haplo-insufficient for the transcription factor KLF1 (p.K288X), which now appears to be a master regulator of erythropoiesis and gene switching
The Maltese Genome Project targets 1% of the population regarding their origins, mobility, epidemiology, pharmacogenomics and immunogenetics for gene discovery research.
The Malta BioBank is a founding member of ITHANET (thalassaemia network) Euro-BioBank and RDCONNECT as well as of BBMRI. It seeks to expand the scope of biobanking in Malta and the Euro-Mediterranean region.