The Blood Service Biobank collects samples and related data from consenting blood donors as part of blood donation. By providing comprehensive and high-quality material, our aim is to facilitate and support high-quality and ethically approved biobanking-related medical research and product development.
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.
Material held by the Biobank can be used to investigate matters such as the health and well-being of blood donors. It can also be used in medical research to form a control group.
Material stored in the Blood Service Biobank
Since 2017 around 50,000 EDTA whole blood samples have been collected from blood donors who have consented to biobanking. Our collection contains samples of DNA, whole blood, serum and plasma. Living mononuclear blood cells are also available.
The samples stored in the Blood Service Biobank have been collected as part of blood donation and processed to yield DNA or sub-batches in the Biobank’s laboratory by means of automatic liquid handling equipment and laboratory robotics. The different stages of sampling and sample processing with their specific times, as well as biobank storage temperatures are documented by means of the LIMS laboratory information system.
In addition to samples, sample-related data and research data returned to the Biobank (such as genomic data) can be retrieved from the Biobank. The Biobank transfers all samples and data in coded (pseudonymised) form, which means that the identity of individual sample providers cannot be revealed.
Samples and data can also be retrieved from the Biobank based on gene variants (such as HLA factors). Where feasible, Biobank sampling can be planned and set up as part of research projects.
Material release for research purposes
In compliance with the Biobank Act, the Biobank only releases material for use in high-quality health research and product development. By adhering to agreed criteria, we also want to ensure equal access to material. The Biobank has a straightforward, established process for dealing with enquiries about material and the release of material for research purposes.
The purpose of preliminary enquires is to determine the availability and suitability of the Biobank samples and data requested for a research project. You can complete the preliminary enquiry form here. The Biobank will review the enquiry and respond in writing. The Biobank’s response is not binding and represents only an initial response regarding the availability of material.
Preparing an application for material
If the response to the preliminary enquiry is positive, the Blood Service Biobank will send the researcher the forms and instructions required for the actual application for material together with information about the attachments required.
Please submit the following attachments:
- Research plan
- Data protection documentation (report on the processing of samples and data, list of persons processing data)
- CV of the researcher in charge
- Report on the ethical aspects of the research project (e.g. opinion by an Ethics Committee)
- Other attachments required (as necessary)
We will be glad to help you prepare your application and answer any questions you may have. Please submit your application plus attachments to firstname.lastname@example.org.
How the Biobank processes applications for material
Experts from the Biobank and the Blood Service will review the application for material and submit a recommendation to the Director of the Biobank. The Biobank will request further information regarding the application and its attachments if necessary. The final decision on the release of material will be made by the Director of the Biobank. The decision may be favourable, unfavourable or conditional. The decision and the reasons for it will be submitted to the applicant in writing. The applicant may supplement the inquiry and submit it to the Biobank for repeat review. The applicant may also appeal against an unfavourable decision by submitting an appeal to the Finnish Medicines Agency Fimea.
During the assessment, special attention will be given to the following:
- The compatibility of the research project with the Biobank’s field of research
- The research project’s scientific and technological quality, ethical aspects and data protection
- The adequacy of the project’s resources in relation to the research plan
- The adequacy of samples in the Biobank in relation to the samples requested
- Any overlap with other ongoing research projects that are utilising the Biobank’s material
Agreeing on the release of material
After a favourable decision, details of the project implementation will be agreed and a price estimate provided. The Biobank will prepare an MTA-DPA agreement (Material transfer and data processing agreement) which the researcher and a representative from their organisation must sign before material is released. The organisation concerned may be a Finnish or an international research facility or company.
The agreement deals with the release of samples and data to the applicant, the applicant’s reporting obligations, the return of data to the Biobank, the fees payable to the Biobank, and other matters related to the release. By signing the agreement, the applicant undertakes to process the data provided in compliance with the EU General Data Protection Agreement (EU 2016/679) and the Data Protection Act (5 Dec. 2018/1050). The agreement stipulates the duration for which the samples and data may be stored/retained, and the principles behind their deletion after the end of the research project.
Release of material from the Biobank
Material will be supplied to the researcher in coded form with due respect for data security as stated in the material release agreement. The time required to release the material requested depends on the amount of the material and the types of sample and data requested.
Publication of research results and returning information / raw data to the Biobank
The Biobank Act (688/2021) requires that all studies utilising biobank material must be published and that the Blood Service Biobank must be mentioned in the relevant research publications. On its website the Blood Service Biobank publishes the names of all research projects with short descriptions prepared together with the researcher, the name of the researcher in charge, and any links to scientific publications.
The Biobank and the researcher will agree in the material release agreement which individual results and/or raw data obtained from the samples are to be returned to the Biobank for use in other biobank research. The Biobank and the researcher may agree that research results will be disclosed for use by other researchers only after they have been published.
The Biobank complies with the pricing principles approved by the Blood Service. The final price will be determined according to the amount and type of material and any additional work required by the project concerned. A price estimate can be requested from the Biobank during the preliminary enquiry stage.
Contact us if you’d like to access material in the Blood Service Biobank for your research project.
The Blood Service Biobank