Biobanking Infrastructure

The joint sample management facility of FIMM and THL, the leading biobank infrastructure in Finland, continued providing researchers and biobanks with professional, state-of-the-art sample processing, management and storage services coupled with assistance in planning and setting up a sample collection or a biobank.

In 2015, this facility served more than 60 research projects or biobanks by extracting and aliquoting their DNA samples (n≈13,800) or by offering sample storage for different kinds of samples. The liquid nitrogen based sample storage capabilities were extended by purchasing two new modern freezers which raised the storage capacity over one million sample tubes.

During the year, the biobanking infrastructure was introduced to hundreds of people, from Finland and abroad, youngest ones being pre-school children.

When pre-school children visited FIMM’s biobank facilities, we froze flowers in liquid nitrogen and then broke them. It was fun!

Helsinki Biobank Completed Registration Process

In April 2015, Helsinki Biobank obtained a license to operate from the National Supervisory Authority for Welfare and Health (Valvira). Helsinki Biobank is a joint biobank of HUS (Hospital District of Helsinki and Uusimaa), University of Helsinki, Carea (Kymenlaakso Social and Health Services) and Eksote (South Karelia Social and Health Care District), and covers a population of 1,9 million.

FIMM participated actively in the registration process of Helsinki Biobank and is still closely involved in developing processes and policies. FIMM also offers Helsinki Biobank IT solutions and sample storage services.

FIMM offers Helsinki Biobank sample storage services.

HUB 2015 – Creating a Resource of High Quality Samples

In June 2011, Tekes, the Finnish Funding Agency for Innovation, decided to fund a four year joint research project of FIMM and HUS called “Development of a new-generation of integrated biobanking: A model for facilitating personalised medicine and cancer diagnostic”. Within this project, these two partners established the Helsinki Urological Biobank (HUB) and created processes by which biobanking was brought close to the normal hospital work without compromising patient care and diagnostics.

Based on informed, broad consent, HUB has been collecting tissue, blood and urine samples coupled with clinical information from patients with urological diseases, i.e. prostate cancer. During the years 2012-2015, clinicians recruited almost 2,200 patients to HUB. More than 99% of all the patients asked gave their consent. The participants were active and donated over 27,000 samples during their diagnostic and follow-up visits to the hospital. Altogether, more than 138,000 sample aliquots were stored.

The large-scale sampling has now ended and HUB has been merged with the Helsinki Biobank. Helsinki Biobank and Department of Urology, HUS, aim to continue the sample collection as a shared effort.

HUB biobank sample and patient counts 2012-2015.

FHRB 2015: First Sample Applications Received

In 2015, Finnish Hematology Register and Biobank (FHRB), owned by Finnish Association of Hematology, Finnish Red Cross Blood Service and FIMM, finalized its sample access policies and released its sample and data collection for research. Sample and data access is based on a written request and predefined access criteria.

The key objectives of the FHRB are facilitating research translation and improving outcome of hematological diseases, such as leukeamia. The FHRB Scientific Advisory Board reviews all sample and data applications and gives their statement. The final decision of approval is made by the FHRB Steering Group, based on the statement. 

At the moment, FHRB has recruited over 1,000 patients who have donated over 1,200 bone marrow and blood sample sets in different time points in their disease history. FHRB is a national biobank and covers currently approximately 85% of the population base. Read more

FRRB sample access process.

Biobanking Infrastructure