The Blood Service runs its own biobank, and it’s easy to join it as part of blood donation. You can read about the biobank and what it does on these pages.
Biobanks collect and store high-quality samples and data from people to facilitate and support research work. The large amount of data accumulated over time by biobanks is used to develop ways to prevent, diagnose and treat various illnesses and at the same time to promote public health.
Finland is one of the world leaders in biobanking, with several biobanks nationwide. You can join one or more biobanks and withdraw your biobanking consent at any time.
The Blood Service Biobank (the Biobank), established in summer 2017, has the capacity to compile an important collection of blood donor samples and data. The Biobank conducts research aimed at preventing illnesses and identifying the pathological processes involved, the goal being to promote public health. The Biobank also specialises in specific medical aspects of blood transfusions from both the donor’s and the patient’s perspective.
The material collected can also be used in medical research to represent a control group of healthy individuals. Biobank material is only released for ethically and scientifically approved research projects.
How the Biobank works:
- A donor signs the biobanking consent.
- A nurse collects your samples when you attend for a blood donation.
- The Blood Service stores your samples and data.
- The samples and data are then made available to researchers.
- Research data is then returned to the Biobank for use in subsequent research.
- Medical science and treatment practices both benefit.
The Blood Service is studying blood donors’ views on the release of biobanking material for research
Vera Raivola, doctoral researcher at the Blood Service research department, is employing methods of qualitative sociology to investigate the views of blood donors on the use of donated blood for scientific research. The purpose of blood donation is of course to provide blood products to patients. Donated blood may also be valuable in scientific projects conducted to help improve future treatments.
Vera Raivola has interviewed blood donors on questions such as biobanking and its acceptability. Based on the results, blood donors are in favour of the use of blood for research and believe that the research conducted by the Blood Service will yield more information that can be used to promote public health.
Interviewees called for transparency about research purposes and results, and were willing to provide study samples as part of ordinary blood donations. Research results have been published in relevant scientific journals and can be accessed via the following links: Raivola et al. Transfusion and Raivola et al. European Journal of Human Genetics.
The research results will be presented in full in Raivola’s doctoral thesis. This scientific evidence also encourages the Blood Service to continue its biobank activities, as blood donors regard it as a good, important and acceptable part of the work of the Blood Service. Raivola’s research is being conducted in collaboration with the University of Eastern Finland.
The Blood Service is also involved in the work of The Finnish Hematology Registry and Clinical Biobank (FHRB Biobank), which collects consents, samples and data from patients with haematological conditions as part of their treatment.