Establishing a biorepository extends the scope and benefits of biomedical research by providing a large, accessible bank of biological specimens to further advancements in science and our understanding of disease progression and treatment.
At the same time, this endeavor carries significant complex regulatory, financial and clinical issues that must be addressed before the bank is established.
Through my work in establishing the following repositories, I’ve developed the expertise, relationships and capability to allocate the resources needed to establish and maintain this vital tool in research.
- The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center
- Assurex Health: The world’s first biorepository of psychotropic samples
- The Human Tissue Resource Network Biorepository
- Health Alliance and The Collaborative Human Tissue Network (CHTN)
- Cincinnati Children’s Hospital: The Only Pediatric Neuroblastoma Brain Tumor Bank
My role is to magnify the scientific value of the biorepository by ensuring it benefits the largest number of stakeholders while encouraging a necessary framework built on trust and teamwork, which is of vital importance to the bank’s continued contribution to science.
The promise of precision medicine brings faster and more exact responses to drugs and therapies, which will save billions in healthcare costs. Among these progressions include the sequencing of the human genome, which has linked a growing number of diseases to specific genes. We are also identifying connections between environmental, genetic and lifestyle factors with disease progression, along with new advances in the understanding of how drugs are metabolized in individuals.
The work done in laboratories provides the framework for researchers for these developments as they discover paths in disease prevention and management. At a minimum, they will change the dynamics of laboratory practices, including new tools to measure the body’s vital molecules, and the ability to manage and interpret these highly complex sets of biomedical data. Bioinformatics involves an understanding of the confluence of computer technology and biology. Converting ‘omics data to diagnostics and prognostics involves extensive correlations and comparisons.
While CLIA provides the appropriate oversight mechanisms, there are other governance strategies that must be considered. Choices regarding informed consent, privacy, security, access to results, commercialization and benefits sharing must be addressed early. This is especially essential with regard to exchanges with researchers in different cultures and countries, which brings additional bioethical and cultural differences to the table. At the same time, I ensure there is a fine balance between ensuring donors are satisfied not only with current applications of their tissues but also future methods.