A biobank, like the A3BC network, collects people’s body fluid samples, such as blood and synovial (joint) fluid. These samples are called biospecimens. Biobanks also collect people’s personal and health information. This information is often referred to as personal and/or health data. “Banking” is storing health information and/or blood/tissue/fluid for future research studies. A “biobank” is the place where the health information and/or blood or tissue is stored.

If you are a participant in a biobank, your biospecimens and personal and health data is carefully and securely stored at your local state biobank node. Your biospecimens and personal/health data will be used for research by researchers who have been approved by a Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC). The purpose of the HREC is to protect the welfare and rights of the participants in the research whilst aiming to facilitate high quality research which benefits the wider community.

The A3BC will provide access (with ethics committee approval) to a large and diverse amount of both high-quality human biological samples (e.g. blood, tissue) and related health information, to provide the support researchers need to conduct cutting-edge research. We will also develop state-of-the-art data analysis processes to ensure that biobank discoveries lead to improved health care, as safely and quickly as possible.

For more information about why biobanking is important, what it means to participate in biobanking and to hear some first-hand experiences please see this excellent webpage from the University of Oxford’s healthtalk.org: What is biobanking and why is it important?.