The Swedish Research Council-funded research infrastructure Biobank Sweden supports healthcare providers and universities with medical faculties working towards national harmonisation in biobanking.
A number of different Biobank Sweden projects aimed at coordinating and harmonizing sample quality-related activities are currently in progress. In 2015, a national network was established in cooperation with genomics, metabolomics, proteomics and biobanking platforms. The main goal of the network was to put together a biomarker profile for quality control, with the objective of enabling better analyses of samples with unknown pre-analytic profiles. In 2018 and 2019, samples for a sample quality cohort were collected in Gothenburg and Umeå, and analyzed by metabolomics, with the result that such biomarkers could be identified.
In 2019, a project was carried out with the aim of creating nationally coordinated guidelines for the pre-analytic handling of liquid-based samples for research, regardless of where samples were handled. The recommendations are based on reports from various experts in biobanking (ISBER, BBMRI-ERIC, SPIDIA), ISO standards and published scientific articles, as well as Swedish expertise. The national guidelines will be applied in biobanking and laboratory services contexts, with the objective to support ethically approved research including the collection and handling of liquid-based samples.
Dr. Gunnel Tybring (KI Biobank) has compiled the guidelines in collaboration with representatives from all university hospitals in Sweden.
An additional national project addressing sample quality has recently been initiated. The aim is to examine the current and future needs of sample quality-related efforts for the benefit of Biobank Sweden’s users. An outlook to other European countries will also be made with the purpose of investigating what Sweden can learn from other biobanks, and strengthening collaboration with European networks.