What is a biobank?
Finland is one of the leading countries in biobanking, with several new biobanks established in recent years. These banks collect Finnish blood samples and data for the purposes of medical research. The large amount of data accumulated over time in the biobanks facilitates the development of better treatments for various illnesses and promotes public health. You can join one or more biobanks, and you can withdraw your consent at any time.
Blood Service Biobank
The Blood Service Biobank, established in summer 2017, is special as it has the potential to compile a valuable collection of blood donor samples and information. The Blood Service Biobank will facilitate for instance research into blood donors’ health and wellbeing. In addition, the collected samples can be used in medical research for example as a control group. Biobank materials will only be released to ethically and scientifically acceptable research projects.
How is a sample of given to a biobank?
Giving a sample is always based on voluntary consent. The samples for the Blood Service Biobank are collected in connection with blood donation, and no extra samples are usually required. Giving of the sample does not affect the duration of the blood donation, the total amount of blood donated, or future blood donations. The Blood Service personnel will give you a consent form to read and sign.
How will my information be processed?
Biobank activities are regulated by law and supervised by the Finnish Medicines Agency Fimea. All material is processed and stored with strict respect for privacy. The Blood Service does not disclose identifying information to researchers. Therefore, scientists cannot associate any samples with the persons who gave them.
If you would like to know what information about your state of health biobank research findings have revealed and what these results mean, you may request a report. A fee to cover the costs of verification and clearing of information may be charged for the report. The biobank may also contact you if your samples reveal a finding significant for your health. However, the results of biobank research are rarely directly exploitable for the benefit of individual donors.
You can request the Blood Service Biobank to provide information, free of charge, for instance on the research projects to which your samples and data have been transferred.
Cancellation of biobank consent
Giving the consent is voluntary and it is valid for the time being. However, you have a right to, at any point, cancel the consent. Cancellation is done by delivering a signed cancellation notification to the biobank. Cancellation is valid when biobank has received the information of it.
Once the notification of a cancellation of the consent has been received by the biobank, access to the sample or information associated with the sample may no longer be used for biobank research. Cancellation is not retrospective, so it has no effects to the research results based on the sample and information associated with it prior to the reception of the notification. Cancellation does not automatically mean destroying stored samples, since they may be necessary to prove validity of the research results.
Cancellation of the biobank consent does not affect in any way to your status as a blood donor.
Reach out for science! - Biobank activities in a nutshell:
1. Sign the biobank consent form
2. The nurse will collect your sample in connection with blood donation
3. The Blood Service stores your samples and information
4. The material is available to researchers
5. The research returns information to the biobank, which is still available for use in subsequent research
6. Medicine and treatment practices develop further
Contact information: biopankki(at)veripalvelu.fi
The Finnish Hematology Registry and Clinical Biobank promotes research into hematological disorders
The Blood Service is also involved in the Finnish Hematology Registry and Clinical Biobank (FHRB), which collects samples and data from patients suffering from hematological disorders. The objective is to support the development of new methods for the diagnostics and treatment of hematological disorders and improve the prognosis of patients suffering from these disorders.
Likewise, samples are sent to the Hematology Registry and Clinical Biobank on a voluntary basis and consent can be withdrawn at any time. Giving or not giving a sample does not affect the treatment of the illness in any way.
The Finnish Hematology Registry and Clinical Biobank is owned by the Finnish Association of Hematology (FAH), the Finnish Red Cross Blood Service and the Institute for Molecular Medicine Finland (FIMM), which is affiliated to the University of Helsinki. Hospitals providing treatment for patients with hematological disorders are involved in the operation of the biobank.