HUB Organization to Enhance Access to Biological Resources: a French Example
- Pp. 97-106 (10)Jeanne-Hélène di Donato and Pascal Auré
The main purpose of biobanks is to provide private and public organisations with biological resources to be used for research projects but unfortunately this process is often not straightforward. Most biobanks supply biological resources to research teams within their own organizations and have difficulty in supplying samples to external teams. The most difficult step is to obtain a specific collaboration agreement between the two parties. This step takes a long time and often interferes with research planning. Moreover, most of French biobanks are administered and financed by hospitals or public research institutes, which established the biobanks for the purpose of supporting their own researchers. The supply of biological resources in the absence of scientific collaboration was not a part of the original plan. Yet today these biobanks need to supply research teams in private/commercial organisations, to promote the use of their samples, to develop translational research and to obtain a return on investment. The rights and needs of researchers must be take into account but priority must be given to the valorization of the biobank. To encourage optimal use of samples and avoid the costly conservation of unused collections, we propose a “HUB” organization to enhance access to biological resources in France. The development of this organization and drafting of legal agreements must take into account the following considerations: a) the researchers’ current needs must be fully understood: this depends on excellent communications between the HUB and legal representatives of the research teams, and b) the availability of collections through a biobank network must be fully understood: this depends on excellent communications between the HUB and legal representatives of the biobanks.