Biobanking Infrastructure

The joint sample management facility of FIMM and THL, the leading biobank infrastructure in Finland, has continued progressing forward towards automated biobanking to improve sample flow and management. Installation of an automated sample storage and retrieval system, NitroStore, was finalized and first samples were transferred in.

In 2014, this facility served more than 70 research projects or biobanks by extracting and aliquoting their DNA samples (n≈14,000) or by offering sample storage for different kinds of samples. The liquid nitrogen based sample storage capabilities were extended by purchasing two new freezers which raised the tube capacity to 800,000 sample tubes.

During the year, FIMM had a significant contribution to several work packages (e.g. WP5 National IT-infrastructure, WP6 Biobank technologies & services and WP8 Public relations). One of the main efforts of the network was the HandsOn Biobanks conference which was arranged in Helsinki in September. FIMM biobanking activities, especially Helsinki Urological Biobank (HUB), were in a central role in describing how modern biobanking can be implemented. During the two day conference, hundreds of visitors were familiarized with HUB and its policies.

FIMM participated also actively in the registration process of Academic Medical Center Helsinki (AMCH) Biobank which in the future will form the backbone of biobanking activities on the Meilahti campus.

HoBBFIMM took care of the Tissue Biobanking booth in the HandsOn Biobanks event.

nitrostoreFirst sample tubes were transferred into NitroStore.

HUB 2014 – Biobank Registration Process Completed

HUBIn November 2014, Helsinki Urological Biobank (HUB) obtained a license to operate from National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira). HUB is managed in co-operation with the Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa and FIMM. It collects serial samples and clinical information from patients with urological disorders.

The HUB research project initiated in March 2012 was closed in the end of 2014. During this time period, more than 100,000 sample tubes containing tissue, serum, plasma, whole blood or urine were collected from more than 1,800 patients. These samples and data associated with them will be transferred into HUB biobank in the spring 2015 according to the policies presented in the Finnish Biobank Act. HUB biobank’s own sample collection started in January 2015. Read more.

In 2014, HUB started using 2D coded sample tubes for serum and plasma samples.


Over the years 2012-2014, the sample numbers of the HUB research project were continuously increasing.

FHRB 2014 – First National Clinical Biobank in Finland

FHRBFinnish Hematology Register and Biobank (FHRB) was registered in Valvira’s (National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health) national biobank registry in July 2014. It was the first national, clinical biobank that got the license to operate. FHRB collects blood and bone marrow samples, representing different time points in the disease history, and clinical information from patients with haematological disorders across Finland.

FHRB is owned by the Finnish Association of Hematology, Finnish Red Cross Blood Service and FIMM. Patient organizations are also closely involved: the chair of the FHRB Steering Group represents the Association of Finnish Cancer Patients. In 2014, sample quality control policies for bone marrow, serum and plasma samples were finalized. FHRB will start collecting samples in March 2015. Samples collected within FHRB research project will be transferred into FHRB biobank by the summer 2015.

In FHRB, FIMM is responsible for sample storage and quality control, sample databases and sample retrieval and delivery for research purposes. Read more.


HUB and FHRB in figures.

Biobanking Infrastructure