On 6-8th November in University of Lodz, the 3rd National Scientific and Training Conference of Polish Biobanks took place. The conference was organized by BBMRI.pl Consortium and gathered many participants interested in the subject. Its keynote was “Population and omics research and the development of biological material biobanking”.
The conference included interesting lectures and discussion about scientific research connected mainly with genomics, population and omics studies. The development of the Polish Biobanking Network was also presented and discussed. Each topic was deeply analyzed by experts who are involved in biobanking development in polish environment.
One conference day was devoted to workshops concentrated mainly on ELSI, quality management system, information safety, personal data protection, and biobanks’ financial aspects. All workshops, led by experts from the BBMRI.pl Consortium, have received a great deal of concrete attention.
One of the most popular workshops was “Practical aspects of quality management systems in cell biobanks,” which indicates high demand for such information among Polish scientists. The workshop was organized by the Biobank of Laboratory for Cell Research and Application, Medical University of Warsaw (LBBK Biobank) – the specialists both in cell culture, tissue engineering, cell application and in the field of quality management and quality assurance in cell biobanking and cell laboratories. The main aim of LBBK Biobank is collecting human cells isolated from selected tissues (i.a. adipose and bone tissues) and selected cell types from animal tissues. The employee from LBBK Biobank has shown practical aspects connected with the topic of the workshop and explained many questions asked during course.
Two other days of the Conference were full of lectures covering various aspects of biobanking. One of the most emotive subjects during the conference was the Oxford-style debate, organized by LBBK Biobank. The leading question was: “Will the collections of material samples be replaced by information banks in the future (in a 20-year perspective)?”. Experts from distinct units participated in the debate, among them were experts from population biobank, gene material biobanking, cell biobanking, clinical biobanking, brain biobanking and IT specialists. Three of them presented opinions for and three against the thesis that material samples will be replaced by cyber catalogues in a 20-year perspective.
The result of answers given after the first question, asked before hearing experts opinions, were that 72% of participants decided that material samples cannot be replaced by cyber catalogues, and only 28% of them decided that in the future cyber-world will replace physical samples. After expert speeches, many questions and a heated discussion between both experts and participants, the second voting results have shown that some of participants changed their mind and 21% of them decided that material samples will be replaced by cyber catalogues. Surprisingly, the results of the debate indicated that despite omnipresent cybernetics development, scientists do not want to forgo typical and basic storage of data connected with biobanking.
All in all the consensus was achieved and conclusion is that both material samples and information banks are needed and are not sufficient separately. They are relevant at the same level – the information banks can be good backup for the collection of material samples, and without material samples some research tests cannot be carried out.
Let’s see if in 20 years the perspectives have changed!