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Biobanking for health research

Biobanking and tissue collection are vital for much of the research that takes place within the Division of Health Sciences. Donated patient samples are collected and used for specific research studies that could not otherwise go ahead.

What is biobanking?

Biobanking is the collection and storage of human tissue samples for future use in health research. Relevant health and demographic information are collected alongside samples to provide context and important information for research. Biobanking has the potential for positive health outcomes through this research but must be carefully planned and carried out to respect ethical and cultural responsibilities.

Why is biobanking important?

Tissue donations from patients are crucial for the study of a wide array of diseases including heart disease, inflammatory diseases and cancer to name a few. These samples help researchers to improve the understanding of diseases and to develop improved treatments or cures.

How are samples collected?

The exact process of tissue donation will be dependent on the research project a patient is involved in. In general, patients will be consented in advance of any procedures to understand what will be donated and any risks involved. Samples will be collected during planned surgical procedures and will not interrupt standard patient care. Blood samples or other bodily fluids may also be donated as part of a project. Following collection, samples will be picked-up by researchers to be immediately analysed in the lab or processed for storage and future use.

Resources for researchers

Existing Biobanks at the University of Otago:

Developing additional support

The Division of Health Sciences is working towards providing additional resources and services to support researchers in tissue collection and biobanking at the University of Otago.

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